I am lucky to have a few good friends, some of whom I may only speak with or catch up with on a very rare basis but our friendship is strong and it may be a year or so since we last caught up but it was like yesterday. I value these friends, good friends who have stuck by me when I needed a helping hand and visa versa.
There is one friend however who I value most of all. We grew up together, we both served, although in different Corps. We kept in touch by phone, Myspace and then Facebook. I am the Godfather to his two girls who I adore and good friends with his wife as well.
I suffer from CPTSD and for me, time is far from linear because my memory suffers.
I remembered this morning I had not spoken with my friend for a few months and felt like a chat and a bit of a bullshit session, as his wife likes to call them. Over the past few years he has helped me to remain grounded and as he also suffers PTSD we share our ups, downs, good and bad days and not to forget the tales we share.
We were always there for each other, we had a very strong bond, a friendship forged in the fire I suppose I could say.
I called this morning and his 6-year-old daughter answered the phone, that’s her job and it’s cute when she answers “******* residence, how can I help you” She’s been doing it since she was four and no one else is to answer the phone. The way she deals with Telemarketers is hilarious, she just rambles on about anything until they hang up.
This morning I called hoping he would have time for a chat and his wife answered. Her voice became shaky when I asked if he was home and I knew something wasn’t right.
I asked if she was ok and she went very quiet except I could hear her crying. When she had composed herself she told me that last month he had taken his own life and asked if it was ok with me if she sent an email. I was in shock, I didn’t know what to think or say so I said “Yes” and she hung up.
I had to go down the street but all I could think of was my friend, his wife and his daughters. I was fighting to keep myself composed.
When I got home there was an email from his wife and it was the most heartbreaking soul destroying I have ever read, I felt bad that his wife had to go through the pain of writing to me and telling me what happened.
The strongest person I knew had reached a point where he had felt it would be better to end his life and I know he would have agonised over leaving behind his wife and children.
As I read the email it became clear why he reached that decision, and the noted he had left explained that he couldn’t go on fighting, wasn’t able to provide for his family and they would get more from his insurance and superannuation than if he was alive.
He took his own life not out of selfishness but because he had been fighting for compensation for so long with no end in sight and he felt this was his only option.
I am gutted, I don’t know what to feel, I had just lost a best friend and his family have lost a loving Father.
Some of you might think he was a coward for taking his own life but it’s far far from the truth. We are humans, we have emotions and sometimes our emotions get the better of ourselves and we make decisions that others do not understand. Sometimes we feel that there is no other way out.
I have lost a brother, a mate and someone with whom I could share troubles with and visa versa. I don’t feel sad I feel pain, pain for my friend, pain for his family and I cannot even imagine the hell his wife must be going through.
I don’t think what he did was cowardly, I know him, he would have been thinking of his family and felt this was the only way out his insurance would enable them to live a bit more comfortably instead of day today.
In time I will be there for his family as he would have been there for mine if I had one but right now I am mourning the loss of a best friend and crying for his family. I remember the adventures we shared when we were younger, the challenges we would talk about to each other and the laughs we had together but I ca also understand why he did what he did because I have been there too.
Rest In Peace Mate, Your Duty Done.