Lost my friend and really miss him

This time last week I was in California for Warped Tour. I was so excited to get out of town for a weekend and not have to worry about school or work or anything. On Saturday while I was so excited to be watching bands, my friend Jared found out he was getting a heart after a year of limbo and being on the transplant list. On Sunday I was goofing off, he went into surgery. Monday I was halfway back home to Washington and saw a Facebook post that he had died on Sunday night.

We dated for a couple months last summer, we had a class together and I signed up for a group project topic I had no interest in to have an excuse to talk to him, and it turned out he used that as an excuse to get my number. It was great at first, he was understanding of my problems with depression and PTSD, and we had school together so it was easy to see him and he understood when I couldn’t hang out because I had to study. He was always honest and it was amazing to know he wasn’t lying, but it also meant things happened like him saying he wished I wouldn’t take medication for my various mental illnesses. We made it through that disagreement and talked about why I couldn’t just switch to therapy, but to some extent I think that was the beginning of the end. We ended up breaking up because I tried to explain why something made my anxiety a problem and we got into a fight, it was stupid he apologized two days later but I didn’t ever really let go of it. I was so afraid of moving backward, I’ve worked so hard after abusive relationships as a teenager and trying to drag myself out of depression, and I was scared that being in a relationship with Jared would make it too hard to do what I needed to do. Maybe it’s just because looking back makes everything seem different than reality, but I think I cheated both of us out of something. He was the only guy I ever actually seriously considered a future with, and the only guy I ever introduced my daughter to, but now none of that really matters.

I’ve always been awful about remembering to text people back, but it’s never felt so awful as it does right now. I forgot to text him back for weeks, there are 7 messages in the past month I didn’t respond to and the only one I answered was to say I was out of town for work. I’ve spent the last 9 years making sure to never ever ignore the friends I knew struggled with depression and suicidal tendencies, but somehow I didn’t register that this was just as important and I can’t forgive myself for it. I sent him a message the night before he died saying that I was sorry I hadn’t been responding and I was glad he was getting a new heart, but he didn’t answer. I guess I kind of deserved that. It would have been so easy for me to just text him, but I didn’t and now I’ll never get to tell him how sorry I am for that fight we broke up over or tell him how much I miss him.

I never thought I’d wish for the numbness of when my depression was worst, but anything would be better than how this feels. So many people have walked out of my life without looking back and I thought I knew what it felt like to lose someone, but this is so much worse. I’ve never had anyone close to me die before, I don’t know how to deal with this at all. I haven’t been this low in so long, self harm is a daily struggle but the impulse to cut or overdose or get high or just wrap my stupid car around a tree is worse than it has been in a couple years. I don’t know how to talk to anyone about it, somehow it feels like it’s not real but also like my world fell apart. His funeral is in a week, I want to go but I think his friends and family hate me for not being there for him. I would hate me if I was them. I just don’t know how to handle any of this, everyone tells me he’s in a better place or that everything happens for a reason but somehow that just makes it feel that much worse. Every time I think I’m going to be ok for a little while something happens and it feels like I got kicked in the chest all over again. I just don’t know what to do anymore

Sierra… I’m so sorry for your loss. I went through a similar thing a few years ago. A close of friend of mine had been on the waiting list for a transplant due to severe issues with Cystic Fibrosis. After the transplant she started to rapidly get better… About a year later her body started to go into rejection and she passed away 3 days before my birthday. I felt very similar emotions to you. I didn’t know how I was going to get through every day, I would take drugs to numb it or just sleep the day away. I think that counselling and/of therapy would really help you, especially as there are grief specific services available and I know it will feel impossible to reach out but it will be so worth it. You need to stop blaming yourself for being a bad friend. You really weren’t that. You couldn’t know that you would be away when this turn in events happened. You said that you make an effort to respond to everyone that you know is struggling, it you know what? You need to look after yourself too. It’s totally okay that you didn’t respond to some texts because you needed time out. Again, you didn’t know this was going to happen. You can’t beat yourself up over things out of your control - this is something I’m slowly learning and none of this was in your control. You’re going to get through this. He loved you and I’m sure he knew you loved him. You’ve shown incredible strength by posting this for us and you can use this strength to fight those feelings. Take one day at a time. Look after yourself. You’ve got this.

Hold fast.

Hey @Sierra,

I am so, so sorry for your loss. My current girlfriend lost her former husband last year due to heart failure, and I hope I can be of some assistance passing along her coping tactics to you. Her biggest priority was to get in to see a counselor as quickly as possible. By seeing a licensed professional, she learned (and is still learning) healthy tactics on how to dull the sharp pain of losing someone so close to her. The 1-year anniversary of his death is coming up on July 5th, and I was told that the 1st year is typically the hardest to overcome, but after that, time starts to help heal the deep, gaping wound. Please don’t be so hard on yourself. I can promise you that your friend would want you to be happy. We want you to be happy. We care for you! You can (and WILL) overcome this! You’re strong. Believe that.