Positive responses poured in.
Among them was a repost by a former teaching colleague on a memorial FB page for a former student of ours. Unbeknownst to me, he had died of suicide two days previous. Twenty-four years old. What I remember is his relentless sense of humor as he failed, time and again, to turn in his work. Jewish funerals take place within 24 hours of a death, so I missed that, but she and I will go over to the house together on Monday.
Another response came from a high school classmate, about a series of suicide-attempt related losses all those years ago. I did not know about those events, but I recognized the emotional landscape of which she wrote.
Then, today, the wedding of our next-door neighbors' middle daughter. I tried; I really did. I do not want to be like the father who wrote the column a year or two ago about not having attended a wedding in the eleven years since his son died. I want to help my friends celebrate the great events of their lives. This was our fourth try. We haven't made it all the way through a single reception. Tonight's final straw came when the bride's two sisters and brother sang "Here, There, and Everywhere" to her. Before dinner, I might add. The seven children of our combined families played together for years; both families were filled with joy and laughter. Theirs still is.
A new friend is doing the Overnight Out of the Darkness Walk in Seattle tonight, in honor of her son who died just a year ago, on the morning of his high school graduation day. I had toyed with the idea of going to that walk (in one of my favorite cities) - until I broke my ankle. I wish I were there anyway.
I am completely depleted. Whatever I wrote about finding hope, whatever courage people saw in that piece . . . . Not tonight. I just want my son back. That's the only thing I ever really want.
I can't imagine how I am going to lead worship tomorrow morning. One of these days I'm going to have to preach so far ahead of myself that I'm going to fall flat on my face.