Men and dealing with loss…

So…just like all of you, I have lost many loved ones in my life, nothing new or strange about that, but there were two losses that were particularly difficult to deal with, that threw me for a loop. The first was a best friend back at school, a gentle giant with a heart of gold and the nicest guy I ever met. We met in standard 4 and were friends in no time. Yes we were naughty together and we inspired one another to challenge and give our teachers grey hair, but never in a nasty or ugly manner – it was not tolerated in those years. Our friendship came to a very abrupt halt in standard 8 after he left to attend a different school closer to home. We still spoke and went ice skating together but just a few short months later on a Saturday morning while sitting in a car with four other boys he was shot dead…he was 16 years old and had his whole life ahead of him, they thought it would be fun to play Russian roulette and he was the unlucky one that got a bullet in his brain from behind…it was the 1st of April and I thought they were playing an April fool’s joke on me when I heard the news. So what is the big deal you might be asking?? Only the fact that he was my best friend, the message I got about what had happened was something like…”your friend was shot and is busy dying in the hospital”.  I was not allowed to attend his funeral, as my dad thought it would be “too hard” for me…so my friend got shot, died on a slab a few hours later, was buried and I was told to move on and get over it…just like that!

Please remember that in those days boys did not cry, they were expected to just deal with things and move on…life went on and you moved past such events as though they never happened.  You didn’t live in the past. Funny story is that this happened more than thirty years ago but I can still see his facial features when I conjure up his memory…he had the hugest gap in his teeth, and the most incredible smile. So I guess his death had a bigger impact on me and my life than most people back then realized or thought it would have.  It was hard for me to understand that he was gone and that I would simply not see him again…and I had no one to talk to, no one who could explain anything to me. His mom was so distraught and I felt like I needed to make it easier for her, give her something to take the pain away…so I stayed in touched, but this had an even worse effect on me personally – I now know that I was just a child and had no means of dealing with the pain and the loss.

The second event that really sent my life spiraling downwards was a very close and very good friend that I had known for many years…we also met in school and in no time we were thick as thieves…went out together, walked home in the rain together, just grew so attached that we became like unrelated twins…she was such a vibrant person with a personality bigger than life itself. She could turn heads and get lips flapping with her looks and her personality…she had a figure that most girls would die for and she knew that she was beautiful.

So what is the story behind this? Well it is your typical jock hitches up with school sweetheart, beauty queen…fairy-tale life envisioned with success, money and beautiful little ones…hmmm, maybe that is how it works in the storybooks, but in reality her beautiful life ended at the hands of her narcissistic husband…literally!

She had a child straight out of school, and married the jock, but just a few years later it was evident that it did not turn out to be the perfect union everybody believed it would be. He was jealous, vindictive, deceitful and the nastiest person ever. He broke her down, made her believe that she was not good enough and that only he would ever love her. This eventually led to her beautiful young life ending in the most tragic way ever.

I visited her just 2 days before that fateful day and I witnessed the agony she was in, witnessed the fear and the tension etched all over her face…after that visit we made arrangements to have lunch two days later…I was going to beg her to leave, to get herself into a safe place, a place where she could rebuild her life…but she was lured home from work that morning under false pretenses and that was the end of yet another beautiful, young, vibrant life…so sad really!

The two of us learned some of our hardest lessons through one another, and we shared a lifetime of experiences in a very short space of time. I was so deeply saddened by this loss that it took me down the path of depression,  guilt at not being there to help her, and a feeling of having being cheated out of something that could have been incredible…If only I was good enough for her all those years ago…and I say this because I never felt good enough, not that she thought so…

Loss – and it doesn’t have to be death – changes you as a person, as a soul being and the change which can often take very long to manifest, can have a devastating effect on your life. If you have being through a loss that has floored you and caused you so much pain and agony that you felt you couldn’t go on then it is time to heal from that…time to allow yourself to be whole again…you have to allow yourself to live, to experience and the only way this can happen is if you free yourself from the chains of not feeling good enough, from the guilt of what you could have done, would have done, wished you could have done, and you need to forgive yourself…today!

Please remember that you are always good enough!!!

Take care of yourself and be kind to YOU.

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