Last Saturday I was driving my daughter back to her home when a Pink Floyd song came on the radio. I didn't think that hearing it would cause any anguish, but it was hard to stay composed and just listen and drive. Let me explain.
A few weeks ago, I was sitting on the couch with my husband flipping through Facebook when I saw a post by a high school friend that one of our mutual friends had committed suicide. Mikey was part of our tight knit drama geek group - a techie who, by chance, also loved Pink Floyd. I couldn't believe it. I messaged her quickly to see if it was true, and from what she could tell it was. He had taken his own life, who knows how or why, but he had.
Finding out of Facebook that a friend has died is hard. Finding out at all is hard.
What comes up are all the memories of when you were together, and for Mikey and I it has been over 25 years since we saw one another. We were close, extremely, but when I left high school, I left everyone and didn't look back. He had tried to contact me by phone 15 years ago. We had, in fact, made plans to meet, but I didn't go. I didn't want to go back to those memories of high school. I have always felt bad that I didn't attempt to apologize or make another date - I felt like a terrible friend, but I had left all of that behind.
It wasn't until he contacted me a year or so ago on Facebook that I allowed myself to continue to be friends with him. In small, slight ways. A like on a photo, a small comment, a look at his status. That's it. No long conversations, no deep insights, no questions about where he or I had been. Just a nod that we had known one another and would at some level continue to know one another.
Obviously, he was a mess. And, obviously, I am not a great friend. Guilt? A bit. The reality was that we moved in very different circles now - not one better than another, just different. I wasn't willing to dive back into the morass of high school, digging up what that was or wasn't, reliving any of it. I just wanted those friends to remain on the periphery and Facebook is brilliant at that.
I guess, partially, I didn't want any of those very raw high school like emotions to rush back, unfortunately for me they did while driving on the interstate and that damn song came on the radio. I'll miss you, Mikey. Even on the periphery.