Down By The Riverside

by ericamclellan


I feel like I don’t belong. At least in this one group, especially with this one situation. I was not really part of that whole group of friends. I was friends with them, yes. But I was not ‘let’s hang out after school’ friends. I was friends in the ‘we text each other,’ ‘hang out often enough,’ ‘have a history of friendship’ with two guys in the group. One who I have known since diapers. We are neighbours, looked after by the same pseudo grandparents, really good friends. The other I met in grade 6 when I had to start a new school. He was so unique right from the time I met him, but the most genuine and kind person. Later on, when we were teenagers, we dated for a total of 5 months. I broke it off. I was dealing with too much in my personal life to be able to handle a relationship, let alone a long distance one (he went off to boarding school. No, for real, boarding school). But, somehow we managed to salvage the friendship we had previously. Somehow we managed to continue to be a part of each others lives in a really great way. We didn’t always keep in touch all that great, but we always reconnected when we were back in town. 

During Christmas break of 2012, on December 21, I got a phone call from the first guy. He told me that our friend had killed himself. I have never had someone in my life die like that. I had never had someone I was connected to, someone who impacted my life so greatly, choose to end their life. I was hurting like I had never known. December 21, 2012 turned out to be the end of the world for some people after all.

Now, fast forward to July 2013. His family is having a memorial service. Everyone is included (I think). But I don’t know any of the details. I have been finding out about it from some of the group. While the first guy is dealing with so much, I don’t want to bother him. But I want to go with him to the memorial. I want to feel a connection to someone while I am there. I don’t want to show up alone. I don’t want to have to deal with the memorial alone. I am scared – scared of what I am sure to feel. 

I know that my friend was loved by so many people. He had such an impact on my life. I know he had a great impact on so many other peoples existences as well. I sometimes can’t believe that I will never get to hear his deeply philosophical ideas, or share music with him. I can’t believe I lost a great person, a great friend, to suicide. To mental illness.

If anyone reading this is having thoughts or feelings about not wanting to be around, about killing themselves, I hope you get through the struggles in your life and see the light at the other side. It’s there. I know it is. Find someone who you can talk to, a place that you can go to feel safe and accepted. You are important. 

Kids Help Phone (Canada)

Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre (BC)


– dial emergency services in your area

– go to your local hospital emergency room