on the 18th of june 2011, just after midday, my friend g. sent me the following text:

“hi a., me and k. have split up, i’m in a world of pain, doubt, confusion and uncertainty. what time is a good time to call?”

around half an hour later i texted him back:

“hi g., i am so sorry to hear that. i am on a support day in the suicide bereavement group until 4:30. i’ll call you after. be strong my friend.”

he replied immediately:

“thanks man, i need some support, talk later.”

i called him around 7:00 pm and we spoke for half an hour. he told that his marriage was at a breaking point and that his wife wanted a divorce. he said that it was all his fault, and that he couldn’t stand the idea of living apart from his daughters. to make things worse, he was in debt and fighting his brothers who had denied him his part in his dad’s inheritance, with whom he’d always had a difficult relationship. in the end, he said he’d been feeling suicidal for a while. he had sought help, had seen a doctor and was on anti-depressants. i tried to help him the best i could. i recommended that he read a book on grief that i had read when my father died. after, we exchanged these texts:

“hi a., thanks for the chat. was that book called grief recovery something?”

“grief recovery handbook.”

“thanks.”

“no worries. any time you need.”

the next day, at noon, i got a call from the police. g. had gone missing that night. they told me that i was the last person, apart from his partner, to speak to him. the policeman told me not to worry as they were in the case, and asked what he had told me.

around 8:00 pm i called g.’s mobile and k. answered it. she told me his body had been found in some woods near home. g. had hanged himself.

on the 27th of june i took a morning train to the town g. lived in. the wake was happening in a hotel where i met k., their two girls and g.’s family. i told them that it wasn’t their fault, it had been g.’s choice.

as g.’s family is from another country, they were taking his body to be buried there. at the end, whilst shaking my hand, one of his brothers said:

“we are taking g. back. taking him back home.”

afterwards, i took the train back home.