The tweet read, “Oh my, I think I followed this guy on twitter…” with a link to a local newspaper article. I nearly fell out of my chair when I read the name and realized that I knew him. Not well, but I had met him.
We had tweeted extensively, I had interacted with him and a few other guys on Skype, and I met him once at a bar with a group of buddies to discuss business ideas.
He died young, tragically, in a manner that makes for uncomfortable newspaper headlines.
He was smart. He was witty. He was motivated. He was respected. And underneath the veneer, something was horribly wrong.
I realized that I had not seen him on Twitter in months. I learned from a mutual friend that things had gotten rough for him lately. He was going through a divorce. Perhaps he faced the prospect of losing his son. I don’t know about his job.
I don’t know what was going on in his head. I don’t know the pain he was feeling, the depression he faced as his life seemed to crumble around him. During darker times in my past I wrestled with similar demons.
I could wail in pity for the friends and family left to wallow in their sadness.
I won’t, because I know their grief will abate and life will go on.
I could rant about the stigmas associated with mental health and the inadequate treatments available for its victims.
I won’t, because I believe there is a deeper, more fundamental disconnection that can’t be treated by Prozac or therapy, and life will go on.
I could bemoan a bankrupt and broken society that squashes the spirit of people who have much to offer in return.
I won’t, because that is not productive and I can offer no solutions to “fix” it, and life will go on.
I will pick my daughter up from her mom’s house in the morning.
I will grin when she comments on the colorful sunrise over the lake as I drive her to school.
And I will be grateful for my beat up car, the colors in the sky, and especially for the 15 minutes I have with the #Cuteness every weekday morning, for love is enough, and life goes on.