There are moments, little-bitty moments in life that can sock us in the face with how extraordinary they are, yet, to an onlooker, they might seem nondescript, or even ordinary.
After Peter’s suicide last week, things were turned upside-down for me. Even more so after I talked with his wife and learned the full story behind his death. It rocked my world–and not in the cool, fun way that is usually implied when people use that phrase. I’m still reeling from the news. I’m not sure if I will ever fully wrap my head around it, I expect that I’ll just become used to this until it fades and becomes a sad memory, rather than fresh, raw grief.
What amazes me is the outpouring of love I’ve received. Friends have dropped what they’re doing to drive me places (Elena), I’ve been hugged ’till I cried and then hugged some more (Niki, Muffy, and Frodo), I’ve had friends carve out time for me because I need to talk (Mindy), and I’ve had people listen because I asked them to (pretty much everyone I know).
In addition to that, my mom popped by my work on Monday with my nephew just to cheer me up. Simon also brought me chocolate. Tuesday my boss gave me a half-day to recuperate after the memorial service. Wednesday, Sonya brought Jaysa to visit me at work, today Kelly and her kids popped in to take me out to lunch.
I told my boss what happened first thing on Monday morning and he said, “you’re part of our family now, when you hurt, we all hurt, whatever you need, let me know.” And select faculty members have been checking up on me all week. It’s amazing. Then, today, my boss saw me heading out to lunch. When I got back, he asked how my lunch was and I told him. Then he hesitated and asked, “have you had people visit you every day this week?” I said that I had and he replied, “what a wonderful community of people you have surrounding you, you’re very lucky.” We were in a meeting and I started to cry. It was such a perfect thing to say and it hit me how true it is.
I am entirely surrounded by a community of love. It’s an incredible feeling. I think the most fortunate part is that I know that I am surrounded by love. I thought of that often the night of Peter’s memorial. More than 200 people showed up to pay homage to him and profess their love for the incredible person that he was. If only he had known…things might have gone differently.
Friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, students, professionals, it is incredible how many people whose lives we touch without even realizing it. People give back if you give of yourself. That’s a powerful realization and if there was a bright spot to losing this friend of mine, then that just may be it. I know that people love me and I am not alone. I know it. I have no doubts.
And I love you, too.