Exactly 1 year ago yesterday, a best friend of mine tragically passed away. I can recall some things that happened on the 17th April 2016.
I was playing PS4 at the time, when I received a text from a best friend of mine, who had beaten leukaemia, and was about a year into his recovery from the treatment. He sent me a big paragraph on Whatsapp, but he only sends me long messages when its about his health. It read “I have some really bad news to tell you, I need to speak to you ASAP, get off PS4, it’s not about me don’t worry”.
In this moment of shock reading this message, my eyes didn’t process the last bit “it’s not about me don’t worry”. My heart sunk, all thoughts in my head were pointing towards news of his relapse, which was the biggest worry for us all after beating leukaemia once.
I threw my earpiece microphone out of my ear, slammed the controller down and I never scrolled so fast down my contacts where I found his name, and began to ring. Those painstaking seconds hearing the ringing, until he picked up and didn’t say a word. I nervously asked “Are you okay???”. He replied “it’s (name)”. He has a brother with the same name, and I didn’t even think about my friend Ben. Then he began to crack and said “(name) has hung himself”.
From this point onwards, from hearing them words, my life has never been the same since. Everything around me shutdown. My mind was trying to digest what I had just heard. My best friend was in absolute bits on the phone. I remember whispering “no no no, this can’t be true”. How could it be true. I can’t remember any more specifically from the phone call, but I told him to go sit with his mum and just try stay strong. I also said I’ll pass the message on to other close friends.
I was completely rocked from head to toe. Completely freezing. My body was processing something that no one should ever have to process. I put the phone down, and I couldn’t stop pacing around.
I sprinted back onto the PS4 to tell my friends that I have received some horrific news, and that I needed to speak to one of them separately on the phone. I rang up my other friend and this is when I fully broke. I told him the news, and all I remember was that he reacted how I did at first, being completely numb and unable to process. I can’t remember the rest.
I put the phone down. Wiping my eyes of and face of tears, I geared myself to tell my parents of the news. They were both in the kitchen preparing evening tea. Sapped of all my energy, I got up off my chair, pulled the door open of my room, and there I glanced a view of my parents through the glass of the kitchen door. My dad was on the phone to someone. I pushed the kitchen door open and I quietly asked my dad to “put the phone down please”. My mum came rushing over with a panic asking “what’s wrong, what’s up”. I fully broke down, crashing into my mums arms. My dad came sprinting over and I just broke out “(name) has hung himself”. I couldn’t hold back. Barely able to stand, my parents carried me over to the dining area to a seat, and they were completely in shock. My mum embracing me, reassuring me that they are there. I couldn’t speak.
The pain was completely unbearable. I didn’t want to believe it. It wasn’t true. Writing this post with tears streaming down my face, trying to tell my experience of losing someone I loved to suicide.
A year on and over £10,000 raised in his name. I couldn’t be more prouder of the family and to be part of the friends who have come together to continue his legacy.