The fights we lose

Dear friend,

I know we lost touch when I left Kyrgyzstan, because our particular kinds of social awkwardness intersected in not-useful ways. I know we weren’t super close, and our paths only crossed for two years.

But I always felt like we understood each other in some core way. You were one of the only people I ever knew who liked to swim in cold water as much as I do. We went on that awesome weekend trip devoted entirely to reading and swimming and you introduced me to Cabin Pressure, which is the only radio show I have ever loved. I could talk to you, and I could sit and not talk to you, which is a rare thing to find.

I was always so jealous that you had swum the Bosporus, of your ferocious intellect and skill for languages, of your gift for writing fiction. That’s actually how our awkward semi-friendship began – I had read and loved your writing long before we’d ever met.

I wasn’t jealous of your struggle with depression, and I didn’t ask a lot of questions. You didn’t talk directly about the depression, only in brief allusions. It seemed deeply personal to you; a black beast you could live with because you knew its shape so well. A beast that always lived with you.

I learned, today, that the beast took your life. I know nobody can fight someone else’s black beast. I know that I wasn’t a close friend. But should I have asked more questions? Was there a way I could have helped your fight? I would have. And you had so many people who loved you. Real soul friends, not just crossing-paths friends like me.

There were so many people who would have fought for you. It was your fight, though, your beast. Your choice how to best defend yourself.

You were always so brave. You spoke your mind, at work and personally. You didn’t do anything you didn’t want to do, and you chose your own path. You lived with that damn black beast in your life for as long as you could. You worked so fucking hard to keep it at bay. You were so brave and you did so much and you’re still gone.

The world is less without you, friend.


If you have suicidal thoughts, please get help. In the US, you can call the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Outside the US, you can find a country by country directory of suicide prevention support here.