Give thanks for friends and family

Give thanks for friends and family

By Chris Best/The Write Team

CARLINVILLE (Nov. 16, 2017) – Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, that special day of the year where we ignore the atrocities committed by America’s early settlers against the native Americans, and remain thankful that, at least for some of us, it all worked out in the end. History and genocide aside, Thanksgiving really is a special holiday. For some it’s a day of excesses: over eating, over drinking, or even overspending on those early Black Friday sales. For others it’s spending times about friends and family; even the ones we can’t stand. Above all else, it’s day for giving thanks.

For me this time of year brings something else to mind; last year at the beginning of November I learned my friend had committed suicide. It shook me when I learned of my friend’s death, as it shook each of his friends, former classmates and family members. Everyone grieved the loss in their own way: we left heartfelt messages on his Facebook that we knew he would never read, held parties to celebrate his life or stayed in and privately grieved from our homes.

Although I never expected to hear that my friend took his own life, I can’t say there weren’t any signs. All of us, the friends that knew him well, knew that he was going through hard times. We read his posts on social media full of sadness, bitterness and anger. We received his regular messages, desperately looking for an escape from the little town in which he now lived, but we were too busy with our own lives to be bothered to drive and pick him up. I often wonder if things would have been different if I had put in the effort.

I bring up my friend not because I’m trying to bum everyone out or make anyone feel bad, but because I hope that others will take something from my experience. We all know someone like my friend, someone that’s crying out for help, but like me, most of us ignore it. We assume that they will find someone else to talk to, that they are strong enough to handle it on their own, that it’s not our responsibility; we’re too busy to deal with someone else’s drama.

Then one day they’re gone.

So this year when you’re sitting around the dinner table loading up a platefuls of mashed potatoes, turkey and stuffing, I hope you take stock of the people that mean something to you, and let them know that you’re glad they’re in your life. And if you see someone struggling, maybe someone with nowhere to go this Thanksgiving, I hope you’ll reach out.