Thanatopsis

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So many people grow up thinking that they’re invincible, including myself. This was proven wrong two months ago when I lost my best friend to suicide. This event taught me that I was not as strong as I had once believed. However, I believe that strength comes in different forms. When the death of a loved one forces you to face the days without them for the rest of your life, that is strength.

I cannot pretend that I knew what strength was before I met Josh. He taught me all I needed to know. I consider that his going away present. When I was going through the hardest patches of my life, he was by my side every step of the way. He held my hand through the bullying, negativity, and overwhelming downfall. I could never thank him enough for that, although he knows I tried. He would send me messages on Twitter about how great of a person I was and how beautiful he thought I was. Little things like that helped me keep my head up. To this day, I read those old messages and sometimes I even write him. I always think that maybe there’s wi-fi up in heaven and he can read my messages.

“You are never alone.” Josh Byers

After losing my best friend, I was instantly introduced to the love and support of the community. I received phone calls, cards, and donations for the family. All of which were beyond comforting to me. When I saw the community come together to mourn the loss of a great soul, I realized that I am never alone. Nobody is. Everybody holds each other’s hands in times of trouble, and gives hope to those without it. I’d like to take this moment to thank everybody who contributed to the family and friends of Josh with monetary donations and/or well wishes.

“It only takes one shattering event of sufficient magnitude to change one’s core beliefs about life.”

Losing Josh was one of the hardest things that I ever had to go through. My emotions were sent into a whirlwind and I couldn’t think straight. What happened to invincibility? I had to remind myself that all good things come to an end, although for the longest time I didn’t want to accept that this was the end. I stayed up late at night and wondered what I could have done differently. Just as you’d expect, blaming myself and others came with no positive results. As time went on, I began accepting what had happened, and I looked at everything differently. I decided that we are, in fact, here for a reason. In some cases we may be unaware of our reason, as Josh was. However, there is a reason for each individual life on Earth. I also learned that every day is a gift. We never know when it all may come to an end, so we should be grateful for all that we have. I, for one, am grateful for the amazing friend that I found in Josh.

“A person never truly gets ‘over’ a suicide loss. You get through it. Day by day. Sometimes it’s moment by moment.” Holly Kohler


In Loving Memory of

Joshua Russell Byers

October 8, 1998 – May 19, 2016

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