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Staying Alive

I had the same best friend from the time I was about 4 all the way through high school. I'm going to call her Suzie because we haven't spoken in years and this post isn't about her anyway. Suzie had a brother named Rob. He was 6 or 7 years older than we were and I thought he was the coolest guy in the whole world. I had other friends with older brothers, but they always ignored us. Rob would play with us. More than that, he would talk to us and teach us how to do things.

Rob was a brilliant kid and a brilliant man. A true and literal genius. He went to college with a full ride and then got a job doing something very complex and secretive with computers. Once when I was in college, we went to a coffee shop. It was the first time I had really spoken to him as an adult, and it just reinforced my belief that he was one of the coolest guys in the whole world. The last time I saw him was at his wedding years ago. It was just before he moved down south, and we didn't keep in touch. His parents still live just up the street from mine, but once Suzie stopped speaking to me I just didn't have much to do with the family anymore.

Rob taught me how to do Algebra when I was eight. I was never very good at Algebra, but I always aced the bit of it he taught me as a kid. He used to play this game with me and Suzie. They had all these inflatable beach balls in their house from Radio Shack or somewhere like that and we used them to play Staying Alive. The point of the game was that Suzie and I would run back and forth up and down the hall at the top of the stairs, and Rob would stand at the bottom of the stairs and try to hit us with the beach balls. If he did hit us, we would have to play out elaborate death scenes, which frequently entailed sprawling ourselves down the stairs head first with our tongues hanging out. This was the best game ever created.

Rob and Suzie were the only kids in the neighborhood who didn't belong to the neighborhood pool. Suzie learned to swim when we were in high school. I don't know whether Rob ever learned.

In the last few years, Rob has apparently been suffering with Parkinson's Disease and severe depression. That probably explains why he decided to jump off a bridge and drown.

The world is a poorer place.

Comments (53)

OMG. That is so sad. Depression sucks. Untreated depression is a crime.

I'm sorry for you.

Oh my, that is so sad and you have my sympathies. I'm glad Rob taught you so many things and you have so many fond memories. I wish I could say something profound - but man, that post really hit me.

I am so sorry.

Well thanks for pulling the rug out with that one!
That's very sad. My condolences. (I hate spelling that word)

Keep him memory alive in all that he taught you. It is so sad when people feel they can not go on. It sounds like the world will miss him. This is a beautiful tribute.

I am so sorry. Suicide is a horrible horrible thing for the survivors of the victim. We always get left with questions and regrets and whatifs. It just really sucks.

I'm so sorry sweetie. Take care.

I'm so sorry.

I'm sorry for your loss, Beth. I guarantee when you are lobbing beach balls at your child, he'll be smiling.

Oh - that is so sad. I am so sorry for you and your friend's family!

Wow, I am sorry. My heart goes out to his friends and family too. That's just aweful. Depression is such a dark and evil place.....

That is horrible. I am sorry. He obviously touched your life and probably many others and so he'll never be forgotten.

i'm so sorry. that's so sad. it's a hard decision to decide not to live anymore.

treasure your memories and your time with him.

Wonderful story about a wonderful soul who made a difference in your life... pay it forward :-) -- that's what I always say... Thanks for sharing --

I am so sorry, what a loss for all concerned. It sounds like he was a wonderful man.

Oh, wow. I wasn't expecting the blow at the end. I'm sorry.

Oh Beth, you story made me cry. It was so lovely, and then you hit us with the end. It must be devastating. It's sorrowing to hear how depression can tear apart such a wonderful person. I'm very sorry to hear it.

I'm sorry to hear about your friend, it's very sad. Depression is such an insidious disease. I hope he is at peace now.

That's terrible, I'm very sorry for your and his family's loss.

I'm so sorry Beth. One of my close friends committed suicide a year and a half ago, and it is one of the hardest things I've ever had to deal with. You're left feeling sad and angry and then sad again. I tell myself that my friend is at peace now, and will have less pain in his next life. I wish that for your friend too.

Beth, I am so sorry for your loss. The world is indeed poorer.

I am so sorry.

Yick, what a sad thing to have happened to your friend. So sorry,Beth.

That's horrible, Beth. I'm so sorry for you and for Rob and his family.

I'm so sorry, Beth. He sounds like he was a great guy.

*hug* I'm sorry, Beth.

I'm so sorry...hang on to those good thoughts and memories. :)

I'm so sorry. For you and him, and the people whose lives he touched.

Oh, Beth, I'm so sorry. He sounds like an incredible individual that I wish I could have met.

Parkinsons disease is a miserable one. I can see where it would dthrow someone into depression. What a terrible loss for you and for Rob's family. Thank you for sharing your memories of him with us.

Good God woman, why don't you just drop a brick on my head. That was a totally unexpected ending. I am sorry for the loss. Unchecked depression is a dangerous thing, this is something I actually know about.
If this world gets much poorer it is going to be on welfare and food stamps.

I know what it's like to lose a friend to suicide. My best friend killed himself when we were 20 something.

When I was in 3rd grade my best friend and his sister were shot in their sleep by their mother.

No matter how old or how young you are, untimely death is never easy to wrap your mind around.

Those types of older siblings are the best. It really does sound like the world is a poorer place in his absence. I'm very sorry.

Thanks for sharing your memories of Rob with us Beth. This post was a beautiful tribute to him.

I am so sorry for your loss. I do love that you told this story and shared your memories with us. I also love the way you told it. The world is a poorer place, indeed. Sad that we only know about Rob because he's not around anymore.

Condolences, Beth.

sorry hun, why is it that the brightest stars burn out the earliest?

Wow...I just wrote a post today about depression. What a sad story. :(

I am so sorry to hear about Rob. Even if you haven't kept in touch, it's still just as shocking and hurtful to hear news when a friend dies. And yes depression is nothing to take lightly. Very sad and I'm sorry.

Rob sounds like he was a fantastic individual. I'm so sad for him that he chose to do this and sorry for you and his family.

Oh my gosh, this breaks my heart! I didn't know him, but based on your comments, I can tell the world was a better place because of him. God Bless him.

I am so sorry. I can feel your loss through your words.

wow. I sure wasn't expecting that ending. i'm very sorry. :( *hugs*

Just remember, everything happens for a reason. Here's hoping he's in a better place now, not suffering from such ailments as Parkinson's and depression. I'm sorry for your loss hun -- take care.

Both of my older kids suffer from depression occassionally as a result of being bipolar. It scares the shit out of me. I'm so sorry for your loss.


I'm so sorry Beth.

I am so sorry :( This is all too common lately. Very sad.

Oh god Hun, I really hate when people write *hugs* but I'm writing it. And I mean it.

I'm so sorry. :(

I'm so sorry. You're right; the world must be a poorer place.

Beth ~ Sorry to hear about Rob. Having lost my husband to suicide, I know it can be very difficult to even imagine the why's. I do try to keep memories about John similar to yours about Rob, closer to my heart... more than then ending....

Oh Beth...I don't know what to say other than he must have been in a lot of pain.

I am very, very sorry for your loss.

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