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My son's best friend killed himself today

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I am very sad that this is the first thread I have started on ENA.


My 19-year-old son M had a best friend, AF, from ages 11-17. They did everything together. Good ideas, crazy ideas, long walks, even longer talks, video games, midnight food runs, sneaking down to the private lake to swim in the wee hours of the morning, running home to my house during a hurricane, falling in love with the same girl(s). He was at our house so often that I began to mother him as well.


AF had no real mother. His biological mom is very mentally ill, and left their lives when AF was about 2. His first step mom was so abusive to AF (from about age 4 or 5 until 9 or 10) that when AF's dad finally figured it out, the woman was incarcerated for her abuse, and is still serving time. AF had a third stepmom, who turned out to be an alcoholic. Luckily for AF, she didn't stick around for more than a year or so.


His uncle and one of his aunts on his dad's side both had Cystic Fibrosis. His healthy aunt tended the sick one every day of her life. AF's father tended the sick uncle every day of his life.


Two years ago, the aunt who was ill passed away; 3 months later, AF's grandmother, who was the glue of the entire family, and the only one whose love AF never doubted, died suddenly. Four months after that, the uncle who had had CF also passed away. Now AF is gone.


Pray for AF's dad, who has lost everyone except his healthy sister, his horribly alcoholic dad, and his daughter, AF's little half-sister, age 13 (the child of one of AF's stepmothers).


My son M told me tonight, and had told me many times before, that AF considered me to be the only true mother he had had. I hugged AF every time I saw him (several times a day), I told him I loved him every day, I cooked him dozens of meals (which he used to be too shy to eat in front of me because he was so embarrassed at my kindness), I sat him down and had old-fashioned values talks with him. We took him everywhere with us, and for a good while, he essentially lived at my house. Our home was a refuge for him from the very dysfunctional situation at his house.


In his turn, AF did so much for me. He routinely took out trash, decluttered whole rooms of my house, rearranged the furniture to much better layouts (he had an enormous talent for architecture and design), mowed the lawn, trimmed hedges, did small home and car repairs, and spent hours just hanging out talking with me. I loved hearing his perspectives on things. He was smart as a whip, and an excellent auto mechanic. He was a very talented football player. He was the only one on the varsity HS team who played both an offensive and a defensive position. He loved to lift weights, play video games, and hang out with friends. Three years ago, he got a tiny gray kitten, and named him Zeus. Zeus and AF were inseparable. Zeus, from as young as 7 weeks, would ride on AF's broad shoulders as AF and my son M would walk miles and miles every day. The love and tenderness AF showed Zeus revealed AF's amazing heart.


AF was a born leader, and led my two sons into some scrapes. There were a couple of police officers who knew AF and my son M's names VERY WELL. Neither was ever arrested, but a couple of times it was a close call.


Recently, AF's life began to dramatically improve. He graduated from high school a year ago, a feat that his dad wasn't quite sure he would accomplish. He got a job at a popular restaurant as a waiter, and was very good at this work. He saved his tips and paychecks, and recently bought himself a car. He had a sweet girl he was interested in.


But AF had addictions to cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana, and in the last 3 or 4 years, he had been experimenting with other drugs. Two nights ago he came to our home and spent hours with my son playing video games and talking all night (they did this a lot). I went to sleep that night to the familiar sound of my son and AF talking and laughing away. He told my son that night that he had begun dropping acid (using LSD) and was also experimenting with some pills. My son encouraged him to try hard to quit, or to go to a detox place.


My son M believes in God. AF had never known such a belief in his family. M told AF for 3 or 4 years about M's life with God, and one day AF told M that he believed in God. After that, they had many, many talks over the years about God and prayer.


M told me tonight that when they would be out in the dark woods at night, getting into or out of trouble, if they were in a scary situation, they would go through the woods holding hands so each would know the other was there, that they were not alone.


AF had tried to kill himself several times. He was always trying to hang himself, but he usually chose something that wasn't strong enough to bear his weight. One of the times, my son was the one who found him, crying and broken in the bathroom at school. My two sons, my daughter, and I all tried time and time again to get him to go to a doctor or the hospital, and several times I spoke to his father about getting counseling and hospitalization for his son. AF's father is one of those people that didn't really believe in counseling, and every time I spoke to him about getting help, he put up a huge wall of resistance.


Today AF found something strong enough to accomplish his tragic goal, and hanged himself from a bridge over the lake he and M had snuck to so many times. We suspect that a horrible acid trip led him to this final decision.


This news is destroying us all.

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It's breaking my heart to read this, Youareworthy. I'm so very sorry for your loss. I can't imagine the pain you and your son are going through right now.


God must have recognized how special AF was and called him back. I hope He sends you and M the love and comfort you need to ease AF's passing and to get through the next bit of time in your grief.


Many condolences, youareworthy. Sending love and warm thoughts your way.

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This is one of those accounts you read that leave you nothing but grateful for just how much has gone right in my life. I think it's amazing that you took him under your wing and provided him love and, indeed, a home that life couldn't seem to care to provide him otherwise. As incredibly tragic as it is, I do believe some people are just born with hands they'll inevitably fold. I hope eventually both you and your son can take some solace in the fact that, while the pain eventually enveloped him, he experienced joys that simply wouldn't have been possible if you'd been absent from his life.


I wish you and your son the best in supporting one another. I know it's a tough balance given that he was truly both your losses, but in different capacities. As I hope you well know, you're free and welcome to spill your heart to us any time.

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I'm so sorry to hear this, my condolences to both of you and to that young man as well. All I can do is offer a virtual hug. As j.man said having you both in his life was a good thing. But sometimes darkness prevails.


I have no other words than this, but hold tight to your son and comfort him as he comforts you. There will be a brighter tomorrow, but for today remember him and love him in your hearts.

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Dearest ENA folk,


Your kind words of condolence touch us deeply. Thank your for the outpouring of love and prayers for AF and his family, and for our family, at this dreadful time.




It is clear now that he planned his suicide in advance. He intentionally chose to spend Friday night, his last fun "hanging out" evening and night, at our house with M. They did all the sweet things they love to do: play video games, order and eat pizza, take a walk, talk, joke, laugh, and tell stories all night. When he left on Saturday morning, he began to send out individual texts to all of his friends telling them he loved them, to take care of one another, and goodbye. He spent the next 24 hours sending texts. After sending each text, he would either block or ignore his friends' responses as, concerned, they tried to get ahold of him.


On Sunday at 1:30, AF posted his last Instagram picture, looking totally exhausted and unwell. He included a 1960s two-finger peace sign, and the words "Peace Out."


Oh God.



My other son, N, was also a very close friend of AF. He is totally devastated as well. My daughter R was likewise one of AF's important confidantes. We are all crying!


A large group of classmates of AF and M spontaneously gathered at their high school tonight, and the students (no parent organizers) held a vigil for AF. My kids attended, and brought some friends back here to be with us afterwards. One teenage girl and I hung out for several hours talking, while others played video games downstairs. I kept wishing I could discern AF's voice among those talking downstairs. How I am missing him, my sweet, loving, struggling "son."



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Dear Capricorn,


Thank you for reminding me of that resource. We have Kaiser Permanente insurance and medical care, and they do have excellent grief counseling. I will investigate that. I attended a several-week session a few years ago when one of my closest friends suddenly died; however, my children did not attend, and at this point, I think we all would benefit.


Thanks again for the wise suggestion, and your kind empathy.



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So sorry for your loss and your sons loss, youareworthy ( your story made me cry )... and for the loss of a young man who could have had a good life ahead of him, sad he had such a hard start in life though but was blessed with good people like you, your son and family to let him know he was definitely loved and mattered. Blessings to you and your son and RIP, AF.

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youareworthy -


That is so sad and such a tragedy. There are no words for what you and your family are going through. I hope all involved can come together with love and support for eachother. Share, care and love. I wish you all the best during this time of sorrow. Take care, I'm sure we will all be keeping you and your family in our thoughts.

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I am sorry for the deep pain of this young man's life and the pain left behind with his passing. The story you tell shows a lot for which to be thankful, the friendship your son gave and received chief among them.


This is a beautiful post with its concrete detail and arc of storyline. How you told us was an act of service in honor of your friend and a gift your son will have too, if you choose to share.


Somewhere I read that ages 18 to 24 are the most dangerous times for a young adult. I'm so sorry.

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Thanks again to everyone here. Your prayers and love are certainly sustaining us through this rough time. None of us is getting very much sleep.


Very soon I will write about AF's funeral and burial. I jotted notes as they were happening because they were extraordinary.


I love the folks of ENA!



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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you Youareworthy, I really appriciate all your imput toward me. I hope everything with you and your family has gotten better. I'm sure it is still terrible, but will get better with time. I lost my best friend at the age of 19. My advice would be to hold close with family and friends, which I'm sure you are doing. Also be sure to check up on everyone as some of us hold things in more than others and its hard to tell is someone is struggling more than they show with grief. I wish you the best and am sending love toward everyone out your way.

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