I didn't actually realize until my sister mentioned visiting the grave, but today is the one-year anniversary of my friend Tyler's suicide. I still remember the shock it was getting that text, the hollow feeling, the disbelief and the unbelievable grief. I remember Mia begging me not to drive home from campus, having Kay pick me up. I remember putting my sunglasses on even though it was cloudy so no one would ask me why I was crying. I remember watching the way my brother's face changed when he found out what had happened, that one of his best friends was gone.
I remember the funeral, everyone there who had come to remember him. I remember his mother wailing at the graveside. I remember not letting myself cry then, because I was the driver and I had to keep my eyes clear for the road. I remember months afterward of it constantly waiting in the back of my mind, the hurt and the loss and the fear that somehow I was responsible. I remember just briefly catching the detail that he'd died wearing his fencing shirt, and the overwhelming sense of relief when I realized that he died in his fencing shirt. That no matter what had happened in his life to lead him to such a choice, at least those of us at the fencing center were a bright spot.
I remember the first time I went to his grave alone, when my world was crumbling around me and I had nowhere else to turn. And I remember keeping him in the back of my mind when I finally decided to see a therapist about my depression.
Suicide affects everyone. Remember not to judge.
Fare thee well, my dear, dear friend.