I was 3,000 miles away and I knew he was days away. Days away from taking his life and ending our friendship in the most heartbreaking way possible. Every phone call during those months I feared would be our last and I would hang on for a little bit longer to make sure he had shared everything that was on his mind and to remind him of the things I needed him to do before we chatted again. I’d often ask one more question just because I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t know where to turn.
I would later learn just how close I came to losing my best friend. We hadn’t talked about it much since then because it still scares us both to look back at those very dark days, but they are a reminder of his how resilient one can be if one is willing to do the work.
And do the work he did. It wasn’t a search for “should I kill myself and end this pain” but a search for “should I live and understand this pain.” The days and weeks and months since then, he has stepped into a very bold and very strong position of confidence and shared his story with thousands of others asking questions that seem to sometimes be without answers.
For the first time in writing, my best friend and business partner Skinner Layne, talks about those dark days and what he found in those moments that brought back from the edge of that abyss. (Read his post: Contemplating Suicide Made me a Philosopher) If you’ve ever felt that way, you’re not alone.
It is a willingness to ask the questions without a guarantee of the answers that I’ve learned makes a philosopher’s mind tick. And it is asking one more question on every phone call that reminds me how precious life and friendship can be.