When Time Should’ve Stopped


I received the best present yesterday. It’s a photo turned into a painting. Simple to some, but worth gold to me.

A special friend turned a special photo into a painting. At first glance, it’s just a photo of two friends, sitting down for dinner on a city sidewalk. But it’s so much more. Look deeper and you’ll see two people in their prime, before the world spun out of control.

I am not a fan of country music but I understand Garth Brooks’ “The Dance.” There’s a line in the song that says this…

“And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance.”

If I had known in May 2012 when this photo was taken how it all would go, I would have never enjoyed that spring day. A day in New York City, having dinner on the sidewalk in Hell’s Kitchen. Enjoying beverages, food, laughter, talking to people on the sidewalk who stopped by our table to chat, one with a weeks’ old puppy.

No, I would have been paralyzed by what hovered in our futures. I simply could not have lived knowing that future.

It’s not been an easy road since this photo was taken. I lost my friend to suicide that December; and I’ve struggled ever since. I’m not the same person I was when this photo was taken. Sure, there’s some semblances of the person left. I look the same, speak the same, and relatively live the same. But I am not the same. I’m a bit sadder, a bit more introspective, and filled with a reality of truth that few people seem to possess these days.

The person on the left is gone. The person on the right is still fighting to be here and present. Every day. I’ve lost a job since this photo was taken. I’ve struggled internally, physically and mentally. I’ve dealt with people who just don’t get it and never cared to.

When I feel like giving up today, I know the person on the left who is no longer present would simply not allow me to do so. She would say, “You are a rock star, JB, a rock star.”

That’s why I look to 2016 and have the wisdom to believe that it not only can be better but it will get better.

I have taken my hits from those I never dreamed would hit me in the first place, and I keep going. HC wouldn’t have it any other way and neither would my dear friend, Lorna, who lost her life December 4, 2012.

I didn’t lose my friend to suicide to lose my own self to people who never bothered to know me in the first place.

May you continue to find your fight and light in 2016, and hug and love the people who really bother to know you in the first place.



2 thoughts on “When Time Should’ve Stopped

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story. The more we speak about these things, the more we help reduce the stigma surrounding talking about mental illness and suicide. May your 2016 be blessed with healing and peace. ((((hugs to you))))


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