Feb. 26, 2019 - I lost my best friend and the love of my life, Boris, to suicide on April 7, 2018. He was 27.
In the months following his suicide, I am still learning what is helpful for me and what is not. One thing I have noticed is that the strong emotions I’ve felt since his passing feel validated through reading other people’s experiences and stories. It makes me realize I am not alone in my grief, which sometimes is all I need.
Sharing your story is something many people find helpful. If sharing my own is helpful to just one person who hears it, I feel it is worth doing.
Boris and I became friends in ninth grade literature class. I thought he was silly, and he thought I was pretty. He was funny and kind and made me feel comfortable to be myself. We hung out in the same group of friends, and then we fell in love.
He was my first kiss and my first boyfriend. On July 25, 2008 we went to the beach, and Boris pleaded with me to be his girlfriend. I still remember the Secondhand Serenade song that played on the radio as we drove home.
We attended college together, which was about four hours from home. There, we made new friends and found a new community. Our college years could best be summed up with the two of us eating cereal while watching How I Met Your Mother every night, desperately waiting on our student loan refunds so we could splurge on a night out at P.F. Chang’s.
Still, Boris and I were very different. We had a lot of disagreements: passionate arguments that sometimes included hurtful words and ended in tears. We broke up a few times, but always found our way back to one another. In many ways, we grew up together, which can be difficult on a relationship.
Boris was honestly the smartest person I have ever known. He challenged me in ways I had never been challenged. He had so many talents, and loved to learn new things. Sometimes our conversations would leave me frustrated and my brain would hurt; but in looking back, I honestly feel I needed that. He helped me to see perspectives that I’d never considered, and challenged me to not settle for status quo.
Most of all, we shared a lot of love together. I know I am a better person, and a better citizen of Earth, because of him.
Boris felt the pressure of the world profoundly. He lacked self-love and confidence. This was often painful for me to observe.
I learned of his depression and suicidal ideation only ten months before his death, but I know it had existed well before that. He experienced ten months of inpatient hospital stays, psychiatry, individual counseling, group therapy, 12-step programs, and couples counseling, not to mention a handful of diagnoses and medication changes. I often wonder if, had I known of his mental health conditions sooner, I could have helped and encouraged him to get more appropriate support, and that maybe then he would still be alive now.
The “what ifs” are haunting.
Months after his death, I am still trying to figure out how to navigate my life without him. He was the person I shared my fears and my dreams with, the person who was with me through all the subtle nuances of life. I still don’t really know what my world is like without him. I am still just taking it one moment at a time.
In the time since Boris’s death, people have told me, “You are so strong,” or that I seem like I am “doing okay.” I appreciate the sentiment behind these words, but wonder, “What other choice do I have?”
I wake up every morning and put my feet on the floor. Yet every single morning, I am forced to remember that he is gone. It can feel suffocating at times, but I don’t know what else to do except to keep going.
I now understand why people say suicide leaves some people with complicated grief. It is exhausting and overwhelming. There are so many emotions. Some come in waves. Some may linger forever. Sadness. Loneliness. Guilt. Anger. Shame. Desperation. Disbelief. Confusion. Regret. The list continues. Any moment of any day I could be feeling one or all of these things.
Mostly, I just miss my best friend. I miss his laugh, his quirky sense of humor, his touch, and his friendship. I believe that some of my emotions may ease with time, but I do not believe I will ever stop missing him. I will keep waking up, and I will keep trying my best to fulfill a promise to love and care for him for the rest of my life.
I know I will carry Boris with me always. I see him in everything around me. I feel him in music, and dream of him when I close my eyes. I know that I can use what he taught me to be a better person, and to live out his legacy of learning, creating, questioning, and loving.
If you’ve lost someone to suicide, help is available.
To find an AFSP chapter near you – along with a sense of community and others who know what you’re going through – click here.
For tips and ideas on how to share your own story, and submit to AFSP’s Lifesavers Blog, click here.