Matai. My best friend, my chosen family; committed suicide early Christmas Morning. The details are not in full (they never will be), but from what we have gathered, he had a fight with his boyfriend after a happy night of drinking. When his boyfriend left, he wrote a short sorry and goodbye note via tumblr, then hung himself.
I got news of it at family lunch. Just after dessert. An old friend of mine Jenna, called me. We hadn’t spoken on the phone for years, and hadn’t seen each other for months. I howled, so loudly that I shook the trees in the valley that dresses my home.
All I could think about was Matai’s smiling face. He was a sun. The moon. The brightest star in the entire universe. He was our light.
After ages of crying together through the phone, Jenna and I decided that we better get in touch with other people who needed to know. Yes, it was Christmas. But all of our friends are the type of people who would want to know something like that from someone they know, rather than a post on Facebook. I look around me, and saw my family balling their eyes out. All were circling me in a sphere of comfort. I began to think about the people who were apart of the sphere, but that I could no longer see, no longer hold- My dog, my cat, my Father. And now Matai.
Chelsea was a mutual friend of ours. I met her through him, and in 2013 her and I became inseparable. By the end of 2013, I decided to move in with her, and another mutual friend, Vicki. In the new year or 2014, our friendship hit a sour note. And we spent half the year ignoring each other, and the other half communicating only through likes on Facebook. Matai never gave up in trying to get us to reunite. So there I was. Swallowing the fact that I had lost my friend, and realising that all anger aside- I had to call Chelsea. She had already found out. And again, we cried through the phone. She told me that they were going to go see Matai’s mom. She offered to pick me up. And just like that, holes of absence and silence were filled with common emotions that outweigh everything. Grief and Love.
While I waited for her, Jenna and Rohan (another old friend of mine) came over to my house. We called our old friend Connor who is now living in Australia. I hadn’t spoken to him in five years. The news crushed him. It is hard being the bearer of hard news. The messenger of Death. You become responsible for changing someone’s entire life in one sentence. Others arrived at my home. All seeking comfort. Some I knew, others I had only heard about through Matai’s tales of his social life. Eventually Chelsea and Vicki came. Without hesitation, her and I hugged, while crying in to each other’s shoulders. We both laughed at how this had to be the situation that we would reunite in.
But that was Matai. He was the glue that brought everyone together. No two friends were the same, and he embodied the idea of individuality, and the bringing together of people from all walks of life. He also never gave up on people. He let go of destructive souls, but only after chance, after chance. But he never, ever, gave up on anyone over small fights, or long silences. He always made an effort. Always ensured that everyone who came in contact with him, knew how much he loved them for being themselves. He never claimed to want to change people- only make sure that everyone was being the best they could be. He was forgiving, trusting, loving and charming.
Everyone knew him as the happiest person. When you met him, he always had a huge smile on his face, with bright eyes. I know he hit dark places too. Who doesn’t? But he always made sure that he lived life to the full. Leading up to his suicide, he cancelled on me a few times when we planned to hang out. I knew it wasn’t like him, and I knew that something must be going on. But I never thought it would run that deep. When he came to my 21st, he was so happy and full of life. Everyone who hadn’t met him, talked about how amazing he was. Cause that was him too, he would walk into a room of strangers, and walk out as the highlight of everyone’s night. He had to leave my 21st early, because his bf was too young to be there, and the bartender had to kick them out. He sent me a beautiful txt saying he would read the speech he wrote for my 21st in private, and that the next 21 years will be amazing. I edited my 21st photos on Christmas Eve. As I looked at him in the photos, I could see that his smile was a little different, and that he looked tired. Things I had not seen on the night. When we spoke to his mom on Christmas day, she said that the year had been tough. We knew that his parents had gotten a divorce, after Matai’s dad was found to be cheating. His sister had a miscarriage, which broke the hearts of everyone. And his mother had a cancer scare. On top of all of that, Matai lost his job and couldn’t find work anywhere else. He had discovered his boyfriend had cheated on him again and so they broke up, then got back together again. He was crumbling from the inside out. But to us, he was still a steady beam of light, shooting through any darkness.
I endured Depression for a year myself. And not many people knew either. Yet, I still could not see the signs in my own friend. I had been so consumed in fixing my life, in complaining about my job and family etc, that I did not reach out to someone and ask if they were okay. I know this is not my fault. It is no ones. And what has comforted me through all of this, is Matai would not have done it, if he had not known that we would all be fine. Matai was someone you respected seconds after meeting him. So I respect his decision, and trust that his heart was too warm for this cold world. But aside from that, this has brought to light how little we know about Depression. How little people who are Depressed, feel that they can do. And how little people who are on the outside feel they can do to help.
There is nothing we can do now. Except live life in tribute to Matai. He was a dreamer, and he encouraged me to always dream. We had so many plans, so many ambitions. And I am going to give every single one of them a go. He kept in contact with people, and made friends wherever he went. And I have to do the same. This last year I have hardly seen anyone. That is the irony in all of this- the one man who brought so many of us together, has done it once more through his death. I am going to live life with dreams in my head, hope in my heart, and happiness in my soul. I am never going to give up on anyone, and I am never going to give up on myself.
Rest In Peace my beautiful friend. I will see you in the sun and moon, before meeting you on the other side. Never stop glowing. Amatimy forever ❤