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I recently lost a friend to suicide. While I would ultimately prefer to remember his life, the circumstances of his death weigh heavily on my mind and are burdensome to my heart because this was something that I truly never saw coming.

I can’t help but wonder if I ever really knew my friend at all. He must have been a fabulous actor because if he had been depressed, no one was the wiser. I can’t look back and think of a single thing now that makes anything about his sad tragic death make any sense at all.

We all fight some private battles, things we struggle with that we keep hidden from the rest of the world for various reason. I’d be foolish not to understand this but my friend’s death has left me with a very uneasy feeling that none of us can ever really truly understand another person’s journey. We are utterly and bitterly alone in that regard.

I cannot judge my friend’s actions because I do not understand them. Clearly, he walked a dark and disturbed path but he did so with a smile on his face. There was never a crack, never a grimace, never a misstep. For whatever reason, he was unable to make room for light in his life yet in his presence, I always felt lifted and loved. He gave too much until he was broken beyond repair.

I will get past the confusion of his death some day and I will remember him the way I want to remember him. I will remember his larger than life personality. I will remember his uninhibited laugh. I will remember his infectious smile and I will remember my friend’s charitable nature. I will remember how much more I enjoyed the world with him in it.

But I will also take to heart in an entirely new and profound way, that we all fight burdens of the unknown. I will take care in my relationships to make sure I pay closer attention to the needs of others even when they fail to ask for help. I will be more aware of what I don’t know and far more charitable about things I could not possible understand.

I will be respectful of the battles of the unknown and seek to bring them into the light whenever I am able.