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Five weeks ago, a friend I had in high school, lost his life to suicide.

One of the pastors at his funeral described a contributing factor of his death as his feeling totally overwhelmed with life.

When I think of feeling overwhelmed with life, I recall the lead character from that old black & white movie that is replayed each Christmas – “It’s a Wonderful Life”. At such a time of distress in movie-land, an angel appeared and showed the man what a positive influence he was for so many people and how valuable his life really was. In the end, the man in the movie made it through his dark night and emerged in the light of morning feeling blessed.

I wish life were like the movies.

On his dark night, I wish my friend could have somehow flashed forward to the future and had an opportunity to read all the posts people have put on his facebook wall these last weeks. I wish he could have heard the beautiful heart-felt tributes from those who spoke and sang at his funeral.

There have been stories of happy memories people shared with him.

There have been anecdotes on how he touched individuals’ lives in positive, wonderful ways.

Through these last weeks, it has become quite apparent that my high school friend lived a life where he was well thought of, valued and loved by so many people.

I wish he could have seen all of this on that fateful night. I wish my friend, like the man in that old Christmas movie, had an angel with him, who could have reminded him of all these things that he already knew in his heart.

Unfortunately, life is not like the movies, and my friend has now passed on.

What does remain, though, is a life well lived.

What also remains, for me, is the memories of time spent with my friend from way back in high school – snapshots of moments spent sneaking off to the park, sharing a kiss by the swing set, laughing and splashing in the lake … Moments in time that have contributed to the creation of the woman I am today.

These things are precious.

They are what I hold on to when I remember my friend.

I have found peace in this.

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