When I was a freshman in high school, I had a crush on a neighborhood boy who was a senior and the sweetest man I have ever known next to my own dad. I wasn’t old enough to date but he would walk to my house several evenings a week to hang out. We’d play one on one basketball if no one else came around to join in. When it got dark, we’d sit in the swing and smooch until my dad would turn on the back floodlight which was my clue to come inside.
I was lousy at learning about people back then. Since he was on the football team, I thought I was way below his standards. As though football players were super special or untouchable or something. It took my relationship with him to teach me that wasn’t at all true. He had a wonderful and unique voice and did I tell you he was very sweet. After he graduated he started working and didn’t have the time he use to have. Needless to say, I missed him a lot.
We were great friends. I would see him in passing after that. At the gas station or at the grocery store but he never came to visit again. I guess we weren’t that great of friends. Or at least as great as I thought. Truth be known, I’m sure he found a girlfriend that was old enough for the relationship he wanted.
Fast forward 30 some years and I learn that he was still in our hometown area. Apparently he had a family, at least at one time. Well, he committed suicide a few months ago. I know nothing about his life after high school. I no longer ran into him anywhere. He was out of my life but would always be remembered as my first crush.
So what is the point of this post you may ask. Well, that is a good question. Ever since I learned of his death, I started having him show up in a few of my dreams. Dreams that don’t make sense. I know not all dreams do, but I can usually connect mine to something specific. Last night I dreamed he was staying in our spare room, even though we don’t have one. I woke up looking for an ashtray of all things. We don’t smoke so it was an odd thing to be focused on. I cried when I found out he died. At first I wasn’t sure if it was because I questioned his salvation or some lingering feelings that I thought were long gone. I figure it could be both. Maybe it hit me because he was such a sweet soul. Death is a sad thing regardless but I may never really understand any of this. Someone has said “you never forget the neighborhood kids you grew up with”. That’s true and sadly, I don’t know where any of them are. I came back home a few years ago to take care of my elderly parents. It has been a blessing but so much has changed. People are gone. Sometimes it feels foreign to me and other times it feels good. I’ll stick with the good!
It has made me realize how important it is to tell the people in your life how you feel about them and how important they are to you. I would hate to lose anyone, no matter by what means, thinking they didn’t know how much they were loved and appreciated. It makes me wonder if one person could have said that to him and it make such an impact that he would not have decided to end his life? Was it that simple? In a way I hope it was and in another I hope it wasn’t. The choice to end your life is such a drastic solution. I have known several people who have done this and I still shake my head. I can’t imagine what caused them to feel so bad and down that they would do that. I hope I never have to.
Stay safe and God bless.