Monday, April 6, 2009

Remembering

I have tried to start this post three times now, and keep having to erase everything and start over.

I've talked before about being picked on as a child by just about everyone around me, about not having many real friends until junior high, and how even then I was typically an excellent target for anyone with a bad day or a nasty rumor or trick to play. There were a few people who reliably refrained from the fun.

One such person was a boy I met in 5th grade. He wasn't the richest boy, or the smartest, or the one with the best home life, but he was one of the nicest. He was a clown, a boy who always looked for attention in any way possible, even when things may not have been the easiest for him. When we were in middle school, he was a boy who had a notice circulated about him to the teachers at the school to not let him have bathroom passes because he spent the whole time wandering the halls of the school, talking to everyone he met. He was a Friend, with a capital F, to anyone who would have him as such.

I didn't see him as often once we got to high school, but when I did, he was still friendly and easy to talk to, without a harsh word. He was still marching to the beat of his own drummer, and after graduation, he followed the sound right into the military. This is where I lost track of him, although I still thought of him from time to time. There's one boy in Josie's class in particular that brings him to mind, and I have thought of him often as I have worked in the class.

The boy became a man, and left one branch of the military only to join another ten years later. He went to Texas, and lived in the army barracks. I hear that he still made friends wherever he went.

Last week, the boy I knew, now 35, succumbed to his depression. He took a bottle of pills and went to sleep. The men in his outfit found him. Free from whatever demons had plagued him, his remains were shipped home for a wake and funeral, with full military honors. I wish I could have been there to say goodbye to this person who was a small sliver of kindness when I needed a friendly face. I wish I had been able to give him a hand in return for the ones he had given me. I hear that he had shut down at the end, was avoiding questions and running the other way when people probed. I wish I had been one of those people, just so I could have tried, too. Though I haven't spoken to him in years, the news of his death, particularly in this way, is a cold shock that has taken up a stubborn residence between my shoulderblades. The concept that someone who gave so much of himself to the people around him could die a lonely, self-inflicted death is beyond my comprehension.

You will be missed, Craig. The world is a worse place without you.

12 comments:

Leightongirl said...

So sorry for your loss.

AndreAnna said...

Thinking of you and his family.

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

I am so sorry. I think he knows now how much his kindness meant to you.

Erin said...

Oh no. I am so sorry to hear this.

Elizabeth Channel said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I experienced something similar through the suicide of a similar-sounding friend in college. It's taken years to get over it, and I still have dreams about it...I hope you find peace in knowing that you were a true friend to him.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

I'm so sorry, Astarte. It seems like the most loving and sensitive people are often also the most.... sensitive. How sad for us all that someone that kind and special is gone.

Chantal said...

oh I am so sorry to hear about this. Take Care.

desperate housewife said...

I'm so sorry. I hope he is at peace now.

Melissa said...

Thinking of you and his family at this time, He is at peace now. So sorry you couldn't go to see him.

creative kerfuffle said...

i'm so sorry. what a loss. he must have been wonderful for you to have such great memories.

Hotch Potchery said...

Suicide is so so sad. I am sorry.

Stimey said...

I'm so sorry. It's really hard to hear news like that.