You never know what people are capable of.
I’ve been saying this over and over since I got the news that a guy I went to school with took his girlfriend’s life. To make an awful situation worse, it surfaced that he brought her body to a park and set it on fire before eventually killing himself. He, somebody that I know in real life and have had cordial conversations with over the years, brought his girlfriend’s body to a state park and set it on fire before eventually taking his own life with a loaded gun. And as many times as I’ve repeated these facts in my head, it hasn’t gotten any easier to digest. Some variation of the following has been on replay despite what my iPod has been telling me:
You selfish f*ck. Why didn’t you talk to somebody? Why would you put her and your families through this? You had such a large network of people that respected and cared about you. Did anybody notice he was acting differently? There had to be some signs. This can’t be real. This can’t be life. I knew this guy. I was cool with this guy. I went to school with this guy. This sounds like one of the tv shows I watch with a desensitized mind. This can’t be real. This can’t be life.
I went to his Facebook page hoping that this would turn out to be some sick joke. I prayed that this was some sick joke. My heart raced a bit as I typed in variations of his name until I was able to get to his page and confirm what I already knew, but didn’t wanna believe. My stomach turned like I was upside down on a roller coaster even though I was really just sitting at my desk staring at my screen. A friend then emails me a snippet of the raw emotion posted by a family member of the girlfriend:
I HOPE YOU BURN AND ROTT IN HELL U ASSHOLE, YOU TOOK MY CUZN FROM US U SELFISH MOTHERFUCKER, SHE WAS THE BEST U EVER HAD AND U REFUSED TO LET HER GO..
My heart ached and continues to ache for both families. With all the f*cked up things I’ve heard about over the years, nothing has ever hit this close to home. It’s unsettling to think that someone I used to dap up in college and chat with on instant messenger could be capable of something like this. It’s unsettling to know that this man had been living within 20 minutes of where I am now. It’s unsettling to know that something so egregious could happen so close to home involving someone that I thought was “normal.” Again, my heart aches for both families and the mutual friends that are feeling the impact of this beyond anything I could ever put into words.
As I write this heavy post, I can’t help but keep wondering if people had noticed he was heading to a bad place mentally? Were there signs that their relationship was becoming dangerously unhealthy? Someone must’ve noticed something but chose to take no action because they thought it wasn’t any of their business. This could’ve been avoided. That’s what I keep telling myself. That’s what we usually tell ourselves when it comes to fatal acts of violence before we return to apathy days later.
All the shoulda, coulda, wouldas in the world aren’t gonna bring either of them back, but hopefully this tragedy will bring to the forefront the issues of mental and emotional health awareness. Hopefully, it’ll remind us of the value of our support networks and the importance of checking in with friends and loved ones if even to just say hello and how are ya? Hopefully, it’ll remind us that sometimes someone else’s relationship is our business. Because honestly, if the relationship isn’t healthy then the people in it probably aren’t healthy either.
Regardless, my prayers are with both families. This will be a sad week for a lot of people. My call to action for everybody reading this is to call to at least 1 person you haven’t spoken to in a while to say hey and see how they’re doing. Try repeating that every week with a different person. I know I plan on doing the same. You never know when you might save a life.