I recently lost a friend to suicide.
Marcus was someone that I thought would always be ok. He was always so strong, so handsome, so driven and so intelligent. He ran a very successful company that he created single-handily and he always loved life. He was someone I thought would never ever commit suicide. I was wrong.
I was driving along a highway when suddenly all the cars infront of me came to a sudden holt. There were three cars infront of me and another two behind me. Without any idea what was going on up ahead, I looked up and saw a mummy Koala slowly crawling across the road with a baby on her back. The man sitting at the front of the line-up jumped out of his car and started waving at on coming traffic. The message got through and everyone on the other side of the road slowed down and came to a complete stop.
How gorgeous! In a society where everyone is so utterly busy with life, and always in a manic rush to get to their next appointment – there were 8 cars all willing to stop what we are doing to make sure that this Mum and baby Koala safely crossed the road.
I sat there in awe watching the furry pair waddle along when I had a thought ‘Why are we so quick to help animals get through life safely, yet we quite easily ignore our friends? Marcus needed help just as much as that Koala did…but he didn’t get a lineup of people wanting to stop and help him, and now he’s gone. Gone forever.’ I asked my husband why he thought of this and he said ‘Because animals are helpless, and humans aren’t.’ Really? I beg to differ.
I shrugged it off and we made our way to the funeral home.
When I got there I started chatting to some mutual friends I had with Marcus. One of the biggest themes that kept coming up was that Marcus had spoken to several people recently and expressed how much he wanted to catch up and spend some time together. Everyone said they had mentioned the same thing to him ‘Oh I’d love to! When things start to quieten down I’ll come up and see you!’. But no-one ever did. Do you know why? Because everyone is busy in their own little world. People are rushing to work, rushing to the gym, rushing to the shops…rushing everywhere except to Marcus.
The next biggest theme that kept coming up in conversation was this silent competition over who knew Marcus best. Everyone wanted their claim to this moment. It was lovely that everyone seemed to care so much for our dearly beloved, but where were they when he needed them? Where was I?
During the service and all the tiny whispers of people trying to climb their way to being Marcus’ closest friend I just had flash backs to my high school art class. I remember learning that Vincent Van Gogh didn’t become famous until his death. He spent most of his life as man with low self esteem and went unnoticed until his artwork found fame. This is called the ‘death effect’. How sad, the he wasn’t ever told how talented or profoundly beautiful his artwork was. He never knew how admired his thoughts and illustrations were.
Marcus was admired. And he was quite popular, but I wonder if he knew just how much.
After such an emotional day I turned to facebook for some mind numbing reading and the first thing I see is a quote that couldn’t be more direct even if i wanted it to be…
“When I die, I don’t want flowers. I don’t want tears and I certainly don’t want people flying in from around the world to come and say goodbye. If I am loved that much – what are people waiting for? Send me flowers now so I can enjoy them! Share your jokes and smiles with me so I can laugh with you. Come and see me NOW. Don’t wait until I am gone, love me today.” – anonymous
For months I have been saying to my friends and family in Victoria that I’ll be coming to see them all soon – but not just yet, because life is busy.
But lets be brutally honest for just a moment. Life is busy. Not just for you. Not just for me. But for everyone. And if they became ill, injured or heaven forbid if they passed away – I would cancel everything and be there for them. Why did I find that okay? Something had to change.
So that night I spoke to my friends interstate and set a date to go over and spend time with them. I’m heading over in two weeks from now.
Don’t live in regret. Because its not just your life you could be adding value to. Make time to see your friends and family. Don’t rush – slow down and enjoy the people in your world.
If you are concerned that someone you know is considering suicide, please take a moment to support them. Don’t assume that thy will get better without your help. How amazing would it be if we all stopped for a friend in need, like people did to help the Koala cross the road with her baby.
I strongly encourage everyone to be involved with R U OK. Please visit their website for tips on how to support, encourage and engage with people that need your help. https://ruok.org.au/
If you are needing help, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. If you don’t feel like you have anyone please call Helpline on 13 11 14 or visit their website https://www.lifeline.org.au/