David called my phone on October 8th at 12:58 pm. I was downtown Chicago at the time and the call did not register. I had been meeting a friend for lunch, and then wandered down to State street to do some browsing. I had a couple interviews coming up and needed to purchase a few things.
I went home that afternoon around 5:00 pm. My phone had been on silent while I was doing this shopping, and I had missed quite a few calls. Four different people had called me from Northwestern University, as well as multiple texts and voice messages. I'm not sure if this is why, but David's call did not show up. Most likely it was pushed down in the queue of missed calls and I just didn't scroll down to see it.
I walked to the train, took the train home, and listened to my messages/returned those who needed returning. I was feeling excited by all the potential opportunities and distinctly remember wanting to talk to David.
Since I had spoken to David for awhile on Saturday, I decided to wait to call him until Wednesday.
Wednesday, I finally followed David's encouragement and went to a yoga class. This was my first class in over a year, and I was feeling great! Since David asked me, every single time we spoke, if I had been working out, I was really excited to tell him!
I took a 3:00 yoga class and called David on my walk home. His phone went straight to voice mail and I felt a little surprised. I thought, "Wow, what a good student. He must shut is phone off during class."
Less than three hours later, I learned the worst news I've ever heard in my life. My world stopped and changed completely, all at the same time.
I didn't know about that missed call from David until Thursday, when scrounging through my phone history looking for anything I could find. I learned Thursday that my brother had called me the day before he died, and I had missed it.
I have gone through many stages related to this incident. Initially, I remember feeling relieved that I had not known he had called. If I had seen it, yet purposely decided to wait to return the call, I would feel even worse. I thought maybe it was a blessing, what if I would have answered and told him I was too busy or said the wrong thing. I felt comforted knowing that David had received love and support from my parents and brothers, and he was not alone.
I know that this is nothing I can change, and I know that there is nothing I can do, but I can't help but think that I had a chance and I missed it.
Time and time again I've thought of what I would say if I could have that one conversation. The first night and the first couple days, the only thing I could say to David was that I loved him. Over and over those words came to my mouth, "David, I love you."
I imagine what that conversation would have been. I imagine what I would have said and what I would have heard.
I know now that David must have been incredibly scared. I know now that David was experiencing thoughts that were not his own. I know now that David was ill, more ill than he, or anyone who loved him, knew.
Knowing what I know now, these are some things that I would like to say:
"David, I love you. I am so sorry for this pain that you are feeling. I can't imagine what it is like and I know it must be terrifying. Remember that this is an illness. It is deceiving you to believe it is you, but it is not. Remember that this will pass, just like I said last year while you were in Colombia, this, too, shall pass.
Today may be hard, but tomorrow might be easier.
Please live. Fight. You are so incredibly loved. This world needs you. You have so much work left to do. I want to grow old with you. I want to live close to you, David.
You are my best friend. You challenge me more than anyone in my life, I need that. I need you. I love you. I will do anything to help and support you.
Nothing matters but your well-being. Don't worry about school. Don't worry about where you'll live or what you'll do. Take care of yourself and those answers will come.
Believe in yourself, because everyone believes in you."
This could go on and on. The harsh reality of the events which unfolded give me a clarity of the situation. I know now what he may have needed to hear. I know now what I should have said.
Since I cannot go back to that day and see that call. I have to find peace.
It's also possible that what I said to David may have helped him in on Tuesday, but that moment may have still come on Wednesday. The moment when all hope was lost and David's illness allowed him to see only one way to escape the pain.
This is an article from a Catholic priest who has laid a wonderful foundation of understanding related to suicide.
Now, much of what I wish I would have been able to tell David, I need to tell myself.
Most importantly: "This, too, shall pass. Today may be hard, but tomorrow might be easier."