Everybody Hurts Somedays. It’s Okay To Be Afraid.
The 10th of September is a day to educate people, reflect, and address mental health stigma. Let’s spread the word and observe World Suicide Prevention Day.
Mike was everything happiness depicted. He lived life on his terms and cashed out his hobby of fishing. Commercial fishing was hard work. It demanded patience and physical labor. But Mike found it enjoyable, albeit he belonged to the elderly club. When asked about the secret behind the smile he wore, he would answer, “Independence and the truth grill you the hard way, but the lesson stays.”
On the 20th of last month, Mike passed away peacefully in his sleep. He was seventy and left behind no family, but a large platoon of friends and well-wishers. At the funeral, each had their personal story to share about Mike. People loved him and held him in high regard. Then there was Thomas — the son of Greg, who lived next door to the deceased. The six-year-old had always been around grandpa Mike. His loss was the greatest of them all.
Thomas overwhelmed Mike. He invaded right into the softest corners of the oldie’s heart. They shared a bond that went beyond blood; A bond between grandpa and his cute little grandson. Mike was everything a grandfather should be and much more. The happiness they shared was contagious, and inadvertently Greg and his wife Jules found themselves looking up to Mike as their father figure. They shared more than what empathy dictated.
Mike was married at some point. Occasionally men caught him talking about his spouse fondly with a moist twinkle in his eyes. No one dared to dig up old memories and stir sadness inside that jolly old man. He was a subject of endearment amongst the people around him. At times, even the Secret Santa people wished for earnestly.
Mike shared his story with Greg and Jules, his life before he came to Jacques Bay. He had been married for thirty-two years. Mike’s memories of his wife Sadie reverberated conflicting feelings of love and regret. They were married young, yet their twenty years of marriage yielded no flesh and blood of their own. But they never lost the hope of being blessed. When all seemed bleak, their hearts finally synced with an orphaned baby girl, Hannah.
Hannah was an angel but sickly. The couple tried their best to keep her safe. Alas! Fate had other plans. Hannah passed away at the tender age of twelve, leaving behind her parents in a state of numbness and disparity. Unable to face the truth, Sadie let the grief consume her, and the only way she deemed fit to numb her broken heart was through eternal sleep.
On the first death anniversary of his daughter, Mike buried his beautiful wife alongside his baby girl. The blissful life he had imagined with Sadie had passed away in a momentary decision. Mike spent the next three years in a state of extreme grief, letting his life stray away to nothingness. Alcohol and painkillers — his only elixirs. Death — the only calm he desired. But, one fine morning, he woke up with a smile. Sadie had spoken. She urged him to survive and not embrace death.
Live for me, Mike. Live for the sake of our Hannah. Go live life to the fullest, and keep our memories alive.
And the rest is history. Greg, Jules, and Thomas had given Mike a glimpse of a life he wished to have with Sadie and Hannah. They appeared complete in his eyes. Thomas had bridged the gap Mike had in his heart. He lived his life guiltlessly with freedom, as he had promised Sadie. The day he passed away, an effortless smile was etched onto those numb, chapped lips.
When your day is long
And the night
The night is yours alone
When you’re sure you’ve had enough
Of this life
Well hang on
Don’t let yourself go
’Cause everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes.
~ Everybody Hurts, R.E.M
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