Dear Malcolm (Anger and the Beginning of Acceptance After A Friend’s Suicide)

Dear Malcolm,

I had to work today. I dreaded it cuz it’s nearing Thanksgiving and you know how the store gets near the holidays. Everybody and they mama is in the store, buying up all the groceries, and just chaos everywhere. I’m dreading Wednesday. I have a 3-hour shift but I’m so dreading it…

I thought about you a lot today. I’m not a pastor’s kid like you were but I am as close to one as one could get. Being children of ministry, I wish we had been closer. I wish you could’ve confided in me; I could’ve helped or just hugged you a lot.

I still see you everywhere. I don’t know why I’m so hung up on the fact that your abscence is affecting me as much as it is when we weren’t, like, best friends or anything, but I am. J. says that that kinda stuff doesn’t matter, that grief is universal and affects us all in a lot of different ways, regardless of how close we were to the person. I don’t know if he’s right but he is a licensed therapist so he must know what he’s talking about.

Today I was soooo angry! And it wasn’t the typical “I can’t believe you left me” grief anger. It was more of a… jealous anger? An “I can’t believe you get to be with God and I can’t leave yet. It’s not fair!” kind of anger, but then I just ended up feeling shitty all day because you’re gone and I’m making your death about me instead of about you. Ugh. I’m sorry. I see you, even now, in my room and I smile. I miss your smile. I miss your laugh. I miss the depth your eyes used to carry.

That’s the thing that scares me about attempting again. I won’t but if I did, I have a sneaking suspicion that I know how that would go down: Everyone would want to shove me off to J. or maybe hospitalize me but that’s not what I need. I would want someone to want me to stay. Like, yes, friends and family would want me to stay but… they usually think they have to be “on” all the time and quote Scripture and Christianese as if that alone is sufficient; it’s good but it wouldn’t be the thing you or I need. I would want someone—someone who understands—to just sit with me and hold me even, or especially, if I fight them, but maybe that’s too much to ask. What I’m saying, Malcolm, is that I understand what it’s like to want to end everything. And even in understanding that, I’m still royally pissed off at you. I guess that’ll lessen with time. Here’s hoping it does.

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