“Friend, there will never be a friend
As dear to me as You
There will be another closer than a brother
Friend, always worth the wait
Faithful as the day You say we are friend” Israel Houghton
I am writing this missing a dear friend of mine. She was actually my very best friend in high school. We were one of the few African Americans in the International Baccalaureate program at my high school. She was a sanctified church girl like me. She was very smart and funny. We got along great.
We made different decisions for college and are paths diverged. We kept in touch for a few years but like most high school buddies we lost contact.
A few years ago, we found each other again thanks to social media. She was finishing her Master’s in publishing and I was finishing my first novel. We sent each other our projects and exchanged insight.
I am speaking of my friend in past tense because she passed away. Actually, she committed suicide a few years back.
I thought I had dealt with this until recently. A family member was distraught because she was afraid her friend had committed suicide. Her friend posted a cryptic message on a social media website. I was able to talk to her, calmly instruct her to call the police and give them as much detail as possible. The next day when I called to check on the situation, I was informed the police got to her in time and she was taken for treatment.
It would have been easy to ignore the little girl’s cry for help as an attention-seeking move but something in me could not let it rest. I am glad I was there for my family member and I was glad that my family member was there for her friend. I am glad that the police responded with urgency and care. I am glad she does not have to feel what I felt.
Death is hard. It is unfathomable that someone can be present, full of promise and dreams and with one desperate action be gone forever.
My friend did not cry for help. She left a note, according to her sister who contacted me months after it happened. I remember our last conversation. I asked to pray with her and we prayed. She was so distant. She did not even sound like her true self.
I write all of this to say that the pain, discouragement, and mental health issues that people deal with are real and not trivial. If you are placed in the path of someone suffering, please do not discount their pain. Reach out. Make the effort. Do not let Satan win. Fight for the life God has given them. Fight for the friend God has given you.
If you know of someone in crisis, here are some numbers to give them:
Need help? Text “CTL” to 741741.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255