It was a usual night. The boys partied; the girls hung out and partied. A Young man goes to sleep and in the morning his room-mate finds him dead. He died in his sleep. He was a young man with a beautiful smile, a kind heart and a broken soul. A young man who was loved beyond his ability to see how much he mattered; He will be missed by the volunteers who knew him and the friends who loved him.
He was one of the many who I knew and worked with. One of many that I tried and could not get through to; He was one of thousands I have met throughout the years that mattered. Last night someone said I seemed bitter. The truth is I am bitter. I am angry and Sad, I am frustrated and hurt. I feel like I should have been able to do more for him, I feel like I should have tried to help him, but the truth is that I couldn’t help Linus.
There will be millions more I cannot help, teach or encourage. I didn’t want to go to work tonight, I didn’t want to see the faces of death, sadness and self-loathing. I did not want to listen to the lies people tell me because they need to see me smile and nod, as if I believe them. I walked the street tonight, wanting to make sure everyone knew we were open.
The entire time I looked around I felt nothing. I felt neither hatred nor disgust I felt neither loathing nor fear. For the first time in a very long time I wanted to drink, I wanted to not hurt not cry and not be sad. For the first time in I do not know how long I wanted to not feel. That changes nothing however. He is still dead, he is not going to suddenly get up and smile and tell me “it’s all good yo” he is not going to ever hear me say OI again.
Of all the men, women and children I thought I knew for sure would go – he would not ever have been on that list. On a daily basis I can look at someone and see what is referred to as “dead eyes”. It is the look that an addict gets when they have lost all hope, it is the look that tells you no matter what happens the person with dead eyes is not ever going to get clean. They will never be truly happy again. There are days I wonder why bother.
Today is one of those days. Today I wonder why bother, because for every single person who succeeds there are a thousand that die. You want to know why I seem bitter. Why I seem angry? Because every day all day I see pain, suffering and hurt. I can lock myself away and pretend it does not exist which I do far too often. I can drown my sorrows in shopping and hanging out with friends – put it away and get out of my head. The end result is the same. While I sleep in my bed someone is outside freezing, dying, hungry, high, drunk and alone.
I am not God, I cannot be there to help everyone. That does not matter though. Because I wasn’t there to help him. I walked away because it was too hard and I was too angry – to wrapped into my own head. Convinced I had to let him go in order to help him find his way, I had to follow my heart. Yet he is still gone, he is still dead. His mother gave him the drugs, did I mention that? Or at least that is what I was told – I wouldn’t doubt it. That doesn’t really matter either. What matters is that a young man is dead – a man I knew, I man I walked away from, a man I knew from the bottom of my heart I couldn’t and didn’t try hard enough to reach. Because I knew I couldn’t reach him I didn’t bother trying to reach him.
Mom says that people know by now the risk they take when they lead the punk lifestyle. I didn’t know. When I was their age it never occurred to me that death was an option. I loved my life, I loved my friends I wasn’t willing to do this to them. I was having too much fun to die. Andy wasn’t. I never stopped to think that the party wasn’t fun for him, I never thought about it for Z either. I never stopped to ask him why because I always go with the idea that when people want to tell me their shit they will. I never try to push because I know that pushing can sometimes be worse than just being there. I should have pushed.
I should have checked in, done my job. We lost this one. H says he sometimes thinks about how he’s glad it isn’t him – I don’t think like that. He says that it feels like that’s a selfish statement, I don’t agree. It is not selfish to be happy to be alive. When someone I care about dies, I wish, every time, that it were me instead. Every time. I continue to live, to fight for my life. Because I have to, I have a job to do. A life to lead and people to work for. This time is no different than any other. I just want the pain to stop.
Rest in Peace Linus.