To be clear, I am not prior military, nor does this involve any military service.
It was two days before the last day of high school, as the time on my high school career in a small town was coming to a close, I got a text message in my best friend group. Six brothers who did everything together, from celebrating after home wins, to cruising around town looking for anything to do in a small Michigan town. One of those best friends sent a text, anyone who read that message now would know clear as day it was a suicide note. However, in the heat of the moment I panicked; one minute later another buddy from the friend group calls me, and that’s when it hit.
I raced down to his house as all of my other friends within that group chat arrived in unison. I get out of my pickup truck to see all of my best friends crying and calling 911. I raced inside to find my best friend on his kitchen floor with blood everywhere and a handgun on the floor. It made me bitter at the world, and it seemed from that moment any empathy for anyone else, was gone.
I spent the next couple of years aimlessly floating around with no real purpose or desire to do anything in life, constantly blaming and projecting my emotions onto others. I was a mess, and lost a lot of people I cared about because I was caught up in feeling sorry for myself. How I thought that no one would ever understand and when they tried to they were met with pure rage.
It wasn’t until a few years later I found this Podcast, more specifically the one with Jeff Nichols. I saw the writing on the wall. I gained so much perspective about love, empathy, and where I was wrong in so many ways. Life is a journey and those dark moments in our lives, no matter how shitty they are, can be guiding spirits leading us to our higher purpose.
It’s a daily strive to live up to those sacrifices of my friends and family, because I would like for them to be able to look down and be proud of me, to see how I have taken such a negative and used it to not only benefit me, but also my friends when they need help, and to give back to the community who was there for me during all of this. Thank you guys for sharing all of your stories, it’s truly inspiring and at the same time ever so humbling. You guys rock and have changed the course of my life completely.