I took a mental health day today.
Yesterday, a friend committed suicide. He was not a close friend, in fact, we had kind of drifted apart over the past few years, but he was someone whom I liked and respected.
I first met Paul when I had just moved back from Saudi, and he had just moved back from Texas. We instantly became friends, and, as I was single then, I developed a crush on him. He was so nice! Nothing ever became of that crush but there was a group of us who spent a few summers together hanging out. Paul was always the social organizer and it would be nothing for him and his parents to invite us all up to their cottage for a weekend. His brothers would also be there and we'd have huge bonfires at the lake, and the guys would get their guitars and drums out, invite all the neighbours, and it would be so much fun.
Paul's mom died a few years ago, and I know he took it very hard. His mom was a nurse, and Paul also decided to be a nurse, much to his father's chagrin. I recall his dad making weird little comments about it.
Anyway, Paul hadn't been himself for the last while. He had taken stress leave this summer and had recently come back to work. I frequently saw him wandering around the hospital grounds by himself and conversations I had with him were polite, but flat. I knew he was depressed, everyone did. He didn't try to hide it, but also didn't want to talk about it.
I saw him on Monday in the hallway, and I remember that we had stopped awkwardly to say hello, as people rushed by us.
Never, not in a million years, would I have thought that that Hello... might have actually meant, Goodbye.