I swore when I got my tattoo – a Black Panther, with the words “Killed by Death,” that I would never, ever take my own life. If the universe wants me gone, it’s going to have to work hard to make that happen, because I’m not giving up this…existence, no matter how much it sucks.

Recently I lost a friend – not to suicide – but Death won that round, he’s gone nonetheless. I’m devastated because he wasn’t a very great friend – I mean he was a wonderful person and kind to everyone, he got along with everyone, but me…that was my fault. I am not very good at opening up, and letting people in, I shove them away pretty hard, but that’s usually because in my experience they suck.

He didn’t. He was a good man and a really, really great father.

Everyone tells you that when you love someone you need to tell them before it’s too late, he raised my Godson, and I was proud of him, for the man he was becoming, for the love he was letting into his life, for the friendship that we were starting – I thought – to forge.

After years of not being sure of each other, I saw a man that I respected a lot, and still respect, I wish he was still here, for his son, for himself, for me.

I didn’t say anything because I was afraid, always afraid, of getting too close, of letting someone in, and watching them get hurt, but as too many of us with mental health issues know, it doesn’t matter how long or how well you know someone when you care, you care. And when it’s their time, it’s their time. You can’t really change that.

Two months from now, I’m going to be out somewhere in the world, and it’s going to hurt, and he’s not going to be there, he would have been if he could have been, but he’s gone, and I’ll probably never see his son again.

Soon enough I’ll have no reminders of him, of the fact that he existed, that he was a person who lived and fought and loved and had laughter in his heart, and no matter what…weirdly, he was always laughing, even when he was being a jerk, he had a smile to his face.

Lots of people, when they lose someone they care about, say they remember the smile most. So today I woke up and I’m crying, and I’ll cry throughout the day, but I’ll remember the smile. I’ll remember all the smiles of all the people who aren’t here to mourn with or to be mourned.

And I’ll continue fighting for all those who don’t get to stay, who should have, whose lives were stolen too soon, by Death, and or whichever agent Death sends.

I won’t forget.

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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