A Letter To A Friend Who Committed Suicide

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“We will see where all of this will end…”

~ Jaco Marais ~

I’m  looking at the full moon gleaming in the sky and I see the Guy Fawkes fireworks exploding outside my window and there’s absolutely no reason to celebrate anything.

Instead, I want the whole world to come to a standstill in the same way that my little universe came to a screeching halt today. I want someone to sit with me in this pain because I do not know what to do with it on my own.

I am not angry with you – how can I be, you were my best friend – but what the fuck dude?

Somehow I sense you all around me… like you’ve not left this earth yet. So I’m writing this letter to you because I need to get some stuff off my chest. (Note: I might swear a lot, because my emotions are rather primal at this stage of my grieving.)

The past few weeks I’ve had an absolute blast preparing for my 40th birthday… You know this, because we talk about everything and I’ve kept you posted on ALL the details. As always, you have been my second opinion and my voice of reason. It’s how we’ve been operating for the best part of the past 18 years: We kept each other in the loop. I trusted you with everything and you trusted me back, right?

On Monday I told you that I’ll be celebrating my birthday in Paris this coming weekend. I told you about the apartment I rented and the lunch on Saturday that will be prepared by a Chef who knows everything about food intolerences. We laughed because lately we both bloat like blowfish at the mere thought of eating cake… “Forty is a fucker” you said. I told you I’m planning to change all that… Then I said that I’ll go to Shakespeare and Company, Jeanette Winterson’s favourite bookshop in Paris, especially for you because you couldn’t make the celebrations this year… You love Jeanette Winterson.

I also told you that I’ll send you a photo of me standing at the exact spot (Jim Morrison’s grave) in Pere La Chaise cemetery, which is where I want you to scatter my ashes if I end up dying before you… because we made a promise that we’ll be there for each other right ‘till the end, remember?

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t you think if ever there was a cue for you to open your mouth and spit it out, that was it… Jeanette Winterson. Death. Ashes. Cemetery.

No?

Instead, you kept quiet…

On Monday, you told me that you wanted something ‘new’ to happen in your life. Here I was, thinking maybe you’ll dye your beard black, or you’ll move to another city… get a tattoo of Angelina Jolie on your hairy bum… explore taxidermy or some kind of other hobby equally macabre and fabulous.

Little did I know you had suicide in mind.

You have always been such a Drama Queen!

How can I not take that personal? What you did cannot be undone. It leaves me powerless and rendered me catatonic. Not a good look.

You used to say “sometimes I think it will be better to end it all.” I sometimes agreed with you. But the deal was that we were in this mess together and we were making the most of it!

We understood that, for some of us, we need to earn our belonging, we need to claim our celebration and make our own noise. At least that’s what you made me believe… You know, you could’ve told me anything. I was your ’let’s bury a body under a tree and never speak of it ever again’ kinda friend. I would’ve listened to you because I know how you can get – you go all dark, depressed and moody. You get prickly and become like barbedwire. You sometimes feel uncomfortable in your own skin and that makes you think that nobody loves you. I am the same way. It’s what made us click. But then we talk about that shit and we put the world right… and we laugh and joke about being so bitter and twisted… just like we did on Monday.

But by Monday you had long made up your mind, didn’t you? And that’s why you didn’t bother telling me.

You should’ve trusted me enough to know that I would not have tried to change your mind. You should have known that I don’t beg people to stay… If you want to leave, then leave… but don’t leave a mess behind like you did!

I know your suicide was not an act of hostility towards me. I know I was someone you loved dearly and I know I loved you back blindly and unconditionally – in equal measure. But it wasn’t enough anymore… nothing I would’ve said or done would’ve changed your mind: You wanted your life to end. That’s brutal.

So you’ll understand that I keep waiting for a WhatsApp message from you to explain yourself… say you are sorry and then end the conversation the way you always do: “I’m off my gay. I have minds to change and a life to live. Love you…”

But I won’t get that message because all I have is those awkward last words you sent me on Monday just before I went to bed: “Sometimes in life I am slightly amused.”

And with those words you have gone and left a big fat gaping hole – bigger than the unsightly split between Madonna’s front teeth – in our lives… and it cannot be fixed.

I plan to live at least another 40 years. Tomorrow and the day after, and the day after that one… every day from now on will not have you in it. Do you know how fucking bad that is for me and every other person who loved you and who drew inspiration from your life?

Yes, your life and who you were inspired others.

Fool.

You kept me afloat. You encouraged me to be better, to try again whenever I believed I failed. You put up with all the bad choices I made. You told me sooooo many times to get over myself and to stand tall, slap on a brave face and take responsibility for my actions. You never judged me and always gave me the benefit of the doubt.

If only you were a friend to yourself like you have been a friend to me.

Fuck you!

So, here’s the deal: You will not haunt or pester me with feelings of doom and gloom. When I cry about you, you will remind me of all the good times we had and the dreams we dreamed together.  You will be a voice in my head warning me every time an outfit does not blend together (except for when I wear pink and red together because we’ve agreed to disagree on that many years ago). You will be my guardian angel and when they find an elixir that stops gay men from bolding, you WILL poltergeist the shit out of the people who made it and you will get it for me…

And finally, since you’ve broken your part of our promise you will help me find another gay friend who will hold my hand when I am old… one who is far more reliable than you, because you were the only one who understood the value of wearing a fabulous hat to a funeral… but now you have gone and broken my heart into a million tiny little pieces and I don’t know if I can ever forgive you for that.

I love you.

Rest in peace.

P.S. I thought that writing this letter will make me feel better and stop the tears and this aching devostating hurt. But this pain will take a long time to lose its edge, won’t it?

I wish you were here, because you were the only person I could talk to during times like this.

Just the two of us

Just the two of us

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11 thoughts on “A Letter To A Friend Who Committed Suicide

  1. I had lunch most Sunday’s with Jaco for the past 4 years. No understanding can soften this blow. Thank you for writing this letter. It reflects a lot of what I feel now. He was my friend. He was the cynical goodness in my life. It was easy to love him. It was easy to be his friend but it became harder towards the end. He could just not carry on…..his life was done

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  2. Jaco Sweetheart rest in peace, blessings to you on the other side and love and light and peace to those who are left behind with so much sadness.

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  3. Thank you so much for this beautiful post. I only found out about Jaco last night by way of SMS from his colleague. I am so saddened by this news. Jaco cut my hair and I can’t tell you how much I loved that hour with him. We talked about traveling, books, movies, his tattoos and he always had a new restaurant in mind for me to try out. He also had the best damn music collection. I drove by his salon today and could actually feel an emptiness in the world – like the world will be that much less good without him in it. I am one of those random people who he inspired and I will miss him immensely. I am truly sorry for your loss and the pain you are feeling. Wishing you peace and strength in this difficult time.

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    • Thank you for sharing your memories of Jaco… You are right, he was so clued-up with music and restaurants and he read so much… Many of the books (and films) in my collection are there because he recommended them. We worked together at Exclusive Books in Brooklyn as night staff many years ago… that’s where the bond was created. He will be missed. There is an informal celebration of Jaco’s life on MONDAY the 10th of November 2014 @ 18h00 at the park (1155 COMBRINK street – Villeria Pretoria) opposite the SONNEBERG block of flats where Jaco lived… You will be most welcome, I am sure. Go say goodbye to him. Much love.

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  4. I don’t know you but I wanted to say how sorry I am as to what has happened.
    I can unfortunately also relate to what you wrote on different levels. A year ago, I lost my best friend to suicide and we also had that kinda ‘pact’ thing where we agreed life was difficult but that we would stick it out together and never do ‘that’.
    And I’ve been someone who has attempted suicide three times and that was just 2 months before losing my best friend to suicide. I wonder how I can still be alive and she is dead. It confuses and shocks me to hell.

    I wish I had the words to somehow make you feel not as bad as you are feeling, but I don’t think anyone can do so and if anything, nothing needs to be said as you will grieve in your own way and that process is unknown…

    Like I say, I don’t know you and I don’t want to appear like some online random freak writing this… But I am sincerely sorry for your loss.

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