My Friend from High School Died and it’s Fucking Me Up

This was originally posted on my Medium profile on February 21, 2017.


Last month my friend from high school died, and we don’t know why, he just did, he was in his late 20s and he died of natural causes, which is just fucking me up because what the fuck does that even mean?

Like my brain kind of thinks that if you make it through infancy then random natural causes should be off your list of possible deaths until you are in your late 80s. Unless you’re sick or you get hit by a car or whatever, you should be safe.

But his body just quit. It just quit and there’s no reason to it. He was healthy and in his 20s and it just quit. Natural causes means we don’t know what the fuck happened, he just died.

And I’m not healthy and I’m 30 and I don’t want to die. I say I do all the time and I’m suicidal but I don’t actually want to die, I just want the pain to end and so far the most efficient way for that to happen seems to be death. I learned the lesson of my desire to live when I accidentally poisoned myself with belladonna. (Yes, accidentally.) I don’t want to stop living. I’m terrified of dying too early.

And I’m terrified of my husband dying too early. He’s 35 and since Jesse died my anxiety about my husband randomly dying in his sleep has skyrocketed. (It was already there, because I’m an anxious, fucked-up mess of a human being.) He was sleeping in for a long time the other day and I suddenly had a panic attack over it, I had to rush in the bedroom and make sure he was still breathing.

And when I wake up in the middle of the night and he’s still asleep if he’s not snoring and I can’t hear his CPAP I panic and reach over and plant my hand against his back and wait to feel the rise and fall as he breathes in and out —

because I couldn’t keep living if I woke up and he was still. I couldn’t.

And this is all fucking me up.

It’s fucking me up because when I first read about Jesse I couldn’t cry and I felt awful for not being able to cry. It’s fucking me up because I remembered that in high school he wasn’t really the greatest friend to me, but he was a teenage boy and teenage boys are, well, they’re teenage boys and I think we all know what that’s like, but I remembered the uncharitable thoughts I’d had about him over the years because a few times he was a jerk to me. It’s fucking me up because if I expected anyone I knew from high school to die at this point in our lives, it would have been his friend who has cancer, and that is kind of a horrible thing for the brain to think, to say “but you’re not supposed to be the one who goes now” but my brain did, which I think proves that I am awful, or at least a part of my brain that is too goddamn loud is awful, but let’s be honest it’s probably the first thing.

It’s fucking me up because even if Jesse and I had our differences because we were teenagers and we never really got a chance to be friends past high school baggage, I know he was a good guy. It’s fucking me up because I remember his parents, fellow drama parents with my mom, and they were the loveliest people and I can’t even imagine what they must be going through right now.

It’s fucking me up because he was young and it always fucks you up when someone younger than you or your age dies.

It’s fucking me up because should I even be writing about this? Should I even be saying these things? We weren’t close; we weren’t friends the way he was friends with other people, and the outpouring of grief on his Facebook wall has been staggering to me, and I felt like some kind of poser when I posted my own farewell.

But I can’t stop thinking about him since he died and that’s fucking me up. He’s even invaded my dreams now.

It’s fucking me up because it’s not like I’m unused to death; it’s not like someone I know dying is somehow new to me. It’s not like someone I care about in any fashion has never died before; this has happened multiple times in my life, starting in early childhood. But somehow Jesse’s death feels different from all the other deaths in my life and I don’t know why.

It’s fucking me up because we were drama kids together. We were family. And I hadn’t seen him in 10-ish years but I always thought I would see him again, because drama kids find their way back to each other.

It’s fucking me up because I never will.

It’s fucking me up…because now I wonder who else I won’t get to see again. I wonder what other family-by-choice, by-bonding-in-the-crucible-of-showbiz, I won’t find my way back to. And now I have a feeling of dread in my stomach when I check Facebook, because if death could come by and take Jesse so easily, so callously, he could come by and take anyone I knew from back then. He could come by and take anyone, and that would be that, we would never see each other again.

And it’s fucking me up.

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Katje

Author. Poet. Menace to society. I live in BC with my husband and our collection of books, DVDs, and video games. Hobbies include knitting, baking, and pixel homicide.