This post deals with suicide and might be triggering for some readers.
April 2020. An unforgettable time for so many people in the world. COVID-19 was well and truly a part of our lives and my partner and I had been in self-enforced lockdown for a few weeks.
The sacrifice of our personal lives seemed a small price to pay when we wanted to be safe and protect our parents and others, but the uncertainty of when this 'new normal' of not leaving the house or seeing our loved ones was unsettling.
It was kind of like any other day, except I had just started an exciting and challenging new job the day before at a big tech company.
My partner had taken a phone call and returned pale-faced. He asked me to sit down because he had something to tell me, which was that our beautiful, kind, funny friend had taken his own life.
We trembled with shock and tears as we held each other. He was the last person we thought would do this, and it didn’t seem real.
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This wasn’t the first time my life had been affected by suicide.
A few years ago, one of my sisters called me to tell me between tears that my 17-year-old brother’s best friend had taken his own life.
I left work to go straight to my parent’s house to comfort him and the rest of the family who had felt like they’d lost a son, and stayed there for a few days.
This time around, there was nowhere to go. No one to hug, except my partner, and we clung to each other.
The worst part for me was calling my sister and her partner in London - who had known our friend since early high school - to tell them the news. It wasn’t lost on me that even if we weren’t in lockdown, we’d have to relay this information on the phone regardless, but knowing there was no one who could be there for them, and no way of them getting back, was heartbreaking.
The following weeks presented a series of hard decisions about whether we saw friends to mourn, even though we risked the spread of coronavirus, and even legal repercussions for gathering with people outside our household.
We dropped food at doorsteps and had friends visit us to chat from outside our front fence while we sat on the porch.