Ask Paul B: Friend’s Suicide, My Guilt is Killing Me

Dear Paul B,

This problem may be too big for you, but I can’t tell anyone else. My good friend (he thought I was his best friend) took his own life last year. He was a really good guy, and always had my back. He wasn’t always the best dresser, and some people made fun of him, but I made sure he didn’t get hurt at school. Mick was kind of short and it bothered him a lot. He gave me $50 for my birthday last year, and I thanked him, but I could have been happier about it. He was always tagging along, and I usually let him. He only had our group to be with, and I knew that. His parents are so angry, sad and alone now. He was an only child. I keep thinking how I could have been a better friend to Mick, because he was a better friend to me. I can’t seem to get rid of these bad thoughts and the guilt. I wrote a letter to his parents a month ago to tell them what a good kid Mick was. I thought I would feel better, but the guilt is still there.

Daniel

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Dear Daniel,

What I am hearing, without all that much background, is that you were his “big brother,” and that you cared very much about Mick. When others teased or mocked him, you stood by him. Who else cared this much? You undersell your importance and place in Micks life. You represented someone that he looked up to as a role model. There were obviously problems that existed in Micks life that he could neither comprehend or tackle. You cannot blame yourself for these issues. Mick may have had neurological or chemical disorder i that we will never know. To blame yourself is so unfair. You were a guiding light for him, a leader, a big brother and a “protector” of him, but more than that- his “best friend.” This should be your memory!

Paul B

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