We all wear masks!
A smiling face, a cheeky grin and a mischievous sense of humour!
That is how I will remember Andy. He was my work colleague and he died aged 34. He took his own life in the summer of 2000.
I remember taking a phone call at work from his Aunt telling me the news. I remember my mind going numb and the uncontrollable wave of emotion. Having to stop on my drive home to compose myself. I remember filling the car with fuel at the garage and feeling guilty for carrying on as normal. I remember that first night in bed totally crushed and feeling completely empty. I was in shock. I remember the overwhelming craving of wanting to see him just one last time.
I remember sitting inside the car, not moving and staring into space for 15 minutes before I could enter work the first day back. I remember my colleague telling me that he was planning to ask Andy to be the Godfather to his baby daughter. I remember the funeral, the sense of tragedy and the actual physical pain of emotion causing me to stoop.
I remember… 20 years later that enormous bomb exploding in my life, in my colleague’s lives and the lives of Andy’s family. The world changed when he died. I remember explaining to others that Andy died because he was deeply sad. In fact, the truth is I don’t know, he never said. Andy had his smile, a cheeky grin and sense of humour but we all wear masks, we all pretend.
I want to remind people that it is okay to have emotions and feelings. It is okay to talk. It is okay to let others in. I used to think these things were a weakness, when being honest about them is a strength. We all need help, we all need support and we all need each other. You are worth more than you will ever know. I wish Andy could have realised that.
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