Dealing with the Death of a Friend

9/04/2014


I had spoken to him 2 days prior to his demise. We talked about how he'd found love and he couldn't wait to share all his accomplishments with me when I got back to school for the Fall. We were laughing and he was telling me to stay focused and that we'd be hanging out again soon. I was really proud of him and always encouraged him to be the best person he could be even when the world did not favor him. His last words were written to me on my Facebook wall, "You're an inspiration." Those were the last words I ever heard from him.

His statement came in response to an essay I wrote outlining the details of my life as a child abuse survivor. It was Yinka who encouraged me to tell my story and motivate others around me to not live in fear of what happened to them and be who they really are now (in the moment).

Yinka: R.I.P. July 15, 2008

Yinka was the type of friend everyone wanted. From the day we met at the time of his demise, he had always been a positive influence in my life. When I was sick, he brought me chicken noodle soup, when I needed a laugh, he would tell me the best jokes, and when I wasn't demanding what I should get out of my relationships with men he would tell me. He was like a brother to me and I loved him more than anything.

I remember the day I got the call because it was the day I hadn't spent all my time on Facebook but hanging out with family. My friend Cedric's name popped up and I felt the urge to answer. This was the time people would start posting fake post - just to let you know my mindset and plus Yinka was a big jokster. The first thing I noticed was the panic in Cedric's voice and he said, "Did you hear that Yinka is dead?" I told him calmly, "NO. I just talked to him a few days ago." Then Cedric said it was all over Facebook and that he talked to another close friend of ours and he confirmed.

Being in such disbelief and thinking that Yinka was playing some kind of joke on me...I decided to call. See, there was NEVER a time that I called and he did not pick up. Never. He was my best friend and if I called or texted him he would always reply, even being in the military.

I called...He didn't answer.I knew at that very moment my friend was dead. 

Yet, I still left a voice-mail in hopes that my worst fears were not true.

The pain of sitting there with my phone in my hand and realizing he would never pick up was tragic.

What I tell you from this point on will not fully help you heal from it. There isn't a day that I don't think about him or miss his presence. Yet, what I do with his memory and things he has taught me is what really brings me peace.
 Yinka's first birthday
 Yinka with family

TIPS TO HELP YOU RECOVER FROM THE LOSS OF YOUR FRIEND

  • Give yourself the chance to grieve. 
  • Talk to a professional if you really need to.
  • Cry, a lot because you have to let out your emotions.
  • Do something your friend had always wanted to do. For me it was simply graduating from college.
  • Keep in touch with their family, but don't bombard them with your sadness. Assist them in the process by just being kind and checking in on them.
  • Go to the grave site when you're in the area and leave some kind of gift.
  • Have a memorial, my friend Leslie and I set up a memorial for Yinka and it really helped all his close friends recover. We were there to uplift each other and give praise to his life.
  • If they died without cause, don't spend your whole life trying to figure out what happened. You don't want to stop living your life and be unhappy because I'm sure your loved one never wanted to see you depressed.
  • Reminisce over old photos, but keep them in a box or certain file on your computer that you happen to stumble across. I say this because you don't want to constantly open a wound. 
  • Playing Yinka's favorite song helped me feel good and bad sometimes so I don't know if that will help. {Yinka's favorite artist - Jah Cure} 
  • Give it TIME. Yes, I believe time helps all wounds. Over the years it has started to hurt less and less. 
  • Make peace with yourself if you feel that you did not spend as much time as you wanted or could have. Understand that you spent more time with them than someone who never got a chance to know them. That's a lot of time.
  • Treat your family and friends, who are living, like it could be your last moments together. Don't hold grudges, be slow to anger, and talk about issues as they arise. Yinka's death taught me that life is really too short and we, as people, need to value the time others give us.
  • If you're religious, pray about it, and find scriptures about dealing with death. My favorite {Psalms 34:18}.
  • Tell other people about that person's importance to your life and how you plan to keep their memory alive.
  • Allow yourself to have more friends, the worst thing a person can do is close themselves off because of the loss they felt and never want to feel again, don't be distant and keep an open heart.

 He was a Solider Medic with a Warrior's Spirit



Lastly but not least, the lesson I learned:


What hurts the most about losing my friend is that I will never know the exact details of how he died. I will never know for sure who killed him or why.

I might have been easier to deal with losing Yinka if he died fighting in the war. I could of came to the conclusion that he died fighting for what he believed in. Yet, to know that he was drowned 10 feet from his own apartment breaks my heart. To know he struggled in any kind of away breaks my heart because he was kind, courageous, and he had a beautiful soul.

My lesson:
I had to forgive someone I never met. I forgave whom ever took his life. It was extremely hard, but I have.

Before You Go:
Did you lose your friend and how do you keep their memory alive?
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This blog is NOT geared toward sexual orientation or gender classification. This blog is based solely on the blog authors experience and research. This blog is geared toward promoting a mixture of masculine and feminine attire and with an integrated genderless lifestyle.

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