I am in Thailand with my dear friend Tad Hargrave. He just lost a friend to suicide, and wrote a piece about what he is feeling. I found it so deeply moving that I wanted to share it here.
— Ocean Robbins
By Tad Hargrave
This post has to do with how much our love matters in the world.
And how much it is missed when it is gone.
Her name was Kylen. I met her through some community events in Edmonton. She had the most radiant spirit. I saw her so occasionally at the Black Dog. But we’d always be excited to see each other and sit down for a drink together and talk about life. Try to catch up on the past 6 months. One of those.
I loved her.
I loved seeing her. I left every interactions feeling uplifted, enriched, loved and, somehow, more special. She had this sparkle in her eyes. So full of life. Such a capacity to have people know they were needed and wanted in the world. She grew upwards like a tree, the beautiful sap of this world being raised up from the Earth in her – and yet so grounded. I left our conversations a bit more comfortable in my own skin.
The other day, I heard word that she was missing.
Today, I found out that she committed suicide.
Like so many others (too many others) she reached her limits of how much suffering her heart could contain. Like my friend Tooker Gomberg. Who I still miss.
She was 20 years old.
I don’t know that I have anything to say here. Except that I miss her.
That suicide is not like any other kind of death.
That we can’t possibly over estimate the importance of kindness, empathy and compassion in this world. That we can’t possibly imagine the amount of pain that the people around us are in. I certainly had no idea with Kylen.
That judging and trying to fix others doesn’t help them. At all. Or us.
That every ounce of healing and wholeness we can bring to our own hearts matters. Because it makes us more available to be present for others.
That listening with our hearts matters (and that advice rarely does). That making someone a cup of tea and listening to their worries with kindness probably matters more than coaching them or telling them what we think they should do.
That no mother should ever have to lose her children.
That we, as a world, can do better than this.
That illness is not personal but collective. That a disease is carried by a whole community – even if it manifests through one person. We all have cancer – some people just carry it for us. It just shows up through them (for whatever reason). But it’s not just about them. That suicide says so much about our culture and our planet at this time. That suicide is a bitter flower that grows out of the shared root system of unresolved grief.
That grieving can, somehow, make us more whole. That Elizabeth Kubler Ross’ words are true:
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
That the answer to so many of the world’s problems is to love even more, to make our hearts bigger, even more generous.
That pain can, somehow, be transformed into beauty. And oh Kylen. May all this terrible pain we all feel give birth to so much beauty.
That we need each other so much. That we are a part of each others’ hearts.
That sometimes it takes a long time to heal from grief.
That time doesn’t heal wounds (or make them disappear). It deepens them. Like rivers deepen the valley. Until they blend with the landscape.
That, somedays, I have no kind words for the universe.
That, if you’re struggling, I hope, so much, that you have someone you can reach out to for healing.
That I dream of a world full of grandmothers who, when your heart finally breaks, will invite you under the covers in their bed and hold you as you fall apart.
That, sometimes, it’s not going to be okay.
That life will break you.
That sometimes, we lose the very best parts of us.
That there are some people we will always remember. No matter how briefly we knew them.
Rest In Peace Kylen.
I am heartbroken.
By Tad Hargrave