My best friend's suicide
20 May 2015, 08:15
My friend died. How? Suicide. Was it expected? No. He was the Dovan; the happy, carefree Dovan. My story of Dovan started in 2012. The summer of great change.
How did I meet him? I knew him through my ex. I actually punched him the face. Do I now feel guilty about that? You have no idea. Last time I saw him was at a local pub where we all used to hang out.
He was singing an Elvis song. I was so wrapped up in my own thoughts I didn’t pay much attention to him.
I just never made the time to nurture that friendship the way it deserved to be. Did I consider him a close friend? Yes.
One of the happiest memories I have of Dovan is when he said "My maatjie moenie so kwaad raak vir my nie, eks nog lief vir jou". It was in my kitchen after my ex had to get stitches in his hand.
In their extreme hangover state and my ex with stiches in this hand I made them clean up after their "little party" and wash the carpet, floors and well basically everything after the "accident".
To this day I can’t imagine that hitting a light is an accident. Let’s just say that it was the most expensive light ever.
How does one move on from this? What do you say to his parents, his brother and his sister? No words can make it better or make this sudden death easier.
Just words of advice don’t say the following to someone who son, friend or brother died;
Don’t say: "I know how you feel." - No you bloody don’t.
Don’t say: "He's in a better PLACE." – This is the most cliché thing ever to say. Rather just shut up.
Don’t say: "He lived a full life." – Say this and I will slap you.
He used to sing me this song called "Vier Seisoene Kind" and if I listen to it now, I just burst into tears. I’m not even the crying type but it just moves me.
I have leant in these past few days after his death that we must take time to mourn him, so take the time to mourn and don't worry about some arbitrary timeline as you process the loss.
As your life marches on, take an hour here or an afternoon there to remember Dovan. Trips down memory lane are a must and let this process move forward naturally.
Also read: Man succeeds in third suicide attempt
The pain of losing someone doesn’t go away but we learn to deal with the pain better.
Preserve your memories of Dovan, it may sound cliché, but scrapbooking memories can help tremendously in processing feelings. There were so many things about our friendship with Dovan that must not be forgotten.
The fear of forgetting became a stressor in itself. Document the important moments — keep a journal of random memories or scrapbook of photos and mementos. As time passes by, we will be glad that we took the time to preserve these memories while still fresh in our minds.
Realising Dovan will never be replaced, friendship is renewable, but people are not. Realise that no person or NEW friendship will ever quite replace Dovan.
Day by day, we adjust to life without our best friend. On particularly bad days, I take it moment by moment. No doubt, Dovan and all his friends and family had a lot left to learn from each other, but I'm glad we had these precious years with him.
Dovan in a way has been responsible for the person I've become — the humor I find in life's little absurdities, my ear for good music, and my ability to see the best in people.
He would have wanted us to eventually move beyond the grief and embrace new friendships with as much devotion as he embraced ours.