when someone’s death gives you perspective

A former colleague who was let go from my current company and I got together tonight for happy hour drinks. Around the time he got let go last year, his romantic relationship of over five years also ended shortly before that, so it was a massive double whammy in life for him. Although I knew that he had experienced a breakup around that time, I had no idea of the details behind it, or that they were together for such a long time. He revealed all this to me and what a shock it was tonight. I felt pretty terrible; I don’t even know how I’d react if I lost my job and my life partner at the same time. It would almost feel like a complete life failure in some ways to know that two such significant things came to a halting end all at once.

He said that although he had some really low moments over the last year, some much darker than others, when he read stories like the one about my brother in my fundraising drive message, it was like a reality check to him that his life really wasn’t so bad, that he actually had a lot of good things going for him, and that a lot of things made him happy. It made him happy to go out and run, smell fresh air, hike in nature, and be around his good friends. He had it really good, he concluded. Stories like my brother’s, as tragic as it sounds, gave him perspective. He eventually got a new job, and he’s been dating occasionally here and there to see what else could be out there for him. He seems to be taking control of his life as opposed to allowing his life to control him. I felt happy for him hearing this.

I do hope that when people read the story about Ed that it does give them some perspective. There’s a big difference between ending pain and ending life. I only wish Ed had been able to see that.

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