Thursday, 29 November 2012

Day 21 - I lost my Friend, My Brother

I lost someone who is was and always will be more than family, brother, father and friend. He died in October 2011. As far as I know he killed himself. His name was Anthony. The first memory I have of him is from when I was around 10-11 years old. My mother had recently married another man and he was an aggressive, self-absorbed type of man. He had physically hurt me a few times – not as extensively as some who was actually beaten but enough to make me fear and hate men older than me. The memory of Anthony I have is from when he was dating my sister and they had sat me down to talk to me about why I was so scared and aggressive towards him. I told them that I was scared that he was going to hurt me like my step-father did and started crying, so Anthony hugged me and told me that he would never hurt me. Some of the details may be off but this is one of the strongest memories I have of him. I cannot remember how long I had known Anthony before this.

Anthony was an amazing man to me. He would always treat me like an adult and talk to me as such and point out when I was doing something wrong, but I do not have a single memory that I can find of him being angry at me or of him ever being angry. He was a lot of fun to be around. He was always able to put people into a good mood and make them laugh. He was open, honest and always willing to help me, but at that stage I wasn’t willing to get help from anyone about anything in my life. I was a bratty little child. He never told me that there was something I couldn’t do and was willing to show me anything I wanted to learn that he was able to teach, but I was never a very good student as I thought of myself as unable to do anything without help. Most of the time when I needed something, I went to him as I wasn’t willing to look and learn to do it myself. I used and abused him for his knowledge and was happy with having someone that I could get what I wanted from.

At one stage we were going to learn to do game programming together. He was a computer software programmer. He was the guy that knew everything about computers and taught me almost everything that I know – other than what I have needed to learn by myself since his death. He tried to teach me to do programming but I was being a lazy idiot who wouldn’t show up for lessons and wouldn’t learn as much as I could have – in the time that I was actually there. I wanted to learn to do it but I wasn’t committed, as I thought that he would do it and I would just “ride along with him” so to speak. After a while of this we stopped this project as it just wasn’t moving. Learning to program games and software is still something I would like to learn, but I am not sure if there will ever be the same opportunity again. I wasted my chance to learn from his expertise, which means that when I do find the time to do this it will take longer as I will not have someone that is already experienced in the field to assist and guide me.

Anthony taught himself how to write programming code by Bernard taking him out of the computer repair department the one day and taking him to the programmer that was working for us at that stage and telling him to teach Anthony how to write code. The programmer showed Anthony to a computer with the appropriate software and gave him a book and told him, here’s the book now teach yourself how to write software. He taught himself using self-motivation and a book. I envied him for the motivation he had in relation to whatever he wanted to learn or do. I thought that I was unable to do that for myself as I thought that I need someone to push and motivate me instead of me motivating myself – I problem that I still have today.

After that we bought and renovated a new office building that had 4 flats built into the property. Anthony, a few others and I had to stay while we renovated so as to “protect” the property as we didn’t have a security system yet and a lot of the flats were still partly open – in terms of no doors on the verandas and so on. We slept on the floors for about 2 months (if I remember correctly) before we moved into the flats. Anthony and I took one, while a friend of ours that also worked for the company took the other. It was the first experience I had of “living on my own” in my life. Anthony and I learned how to cook since we were eating way, way, way too much take out and junk food, lol. Anthony had recently been in a car crash so he had money that the insurance company had paid out to him. We used that money to buy a fridge and some other basic kitchen stuff so that we could cook and eat. We also used the money to buy a TV and an Xbox 360. This was just after they came out. We would all sit together and play games, talk about the world and talk about our lives. It was an extremely awesome and fun time in my life. After a while of us living there we started getting sick and the one morning where I didn’t sleep which was a normal thing for me at that stage – I would mostly sleep for an hour or two a day and stay awake as much as I could, I would also sleep during the day and stay awake at night – the one night Anthony was sick and coughing badly quite often. I was so scared that he would die that I almost broke into tears. I begged him to not die. I begged him not to leave me. I didn’t do this near him but in my room. I was still upset over Blackie dying – see my earlier blog… - so I was scared that he would die and leave me all alone in the world. Soon after this Bernard came to take me home telling me that I wasn’t ready to live on my own yet. This wasn’t a matter of age but a matter of stability in who I was, as I was using the flat as a way to run away and hide from myself. Bernard brought Anthony home soon afterwards as well.

After this we moved to the farm and Anthony came with at first. He started isolating himself more and more over time. He moved out of the room he was sharing with his partner and moved into a tent outside the house. He was less and less interested in the day to day of the farm. He eventually decided that he was going to leave and move back to his parents and try to get a job and find out who he really was. I didn’t take him seriously so I thought the whole idea was ridiculous. He showed me the things that he was responsible for and I took it over from him. He left and I barely said goodbye as I expected that he would be back soon. He got a job and his own little apartment and was doing ok for a little while. He didn’t like his job as it was a high stress environment and the people treated him badly as he was the new guy. He quit after a month I think. He lost his apartment. He sold his car, computer and whatever else he could for food and cigarettes. He eventually ran out of money and moved back to his parents. He would often fight with his parents and they sent him to a few psychiatrists since he was becoming more and more aggressive and forceful in talking to them about his life.

Anthony came back after staying with his parents for a while. He started working with us again outside and he also was busy making a few websites for us – which was another self-taught skill. He was still quite suppressed and isolated but he was getting better. He was teaching me to make websites. I was again more interested in his attention and approval then learning what he had to teach. I ignored much of what was going on inside of him so that I could try to see him as the same fun loving, outgoing, friendly, supportive stable man he used to be. I ignored his pain by seeing it, knowing it was there but not going to him and assisting him with his points out of fear of scaring him away and destroying the shaky relationship that we had developed. I was unwilling to help him out of fear of losing him. So I left him in his state of instability so I wouldn’t lose him. By doing that I pushed him away and that didn’t help him.

After about 3 months he “borrowed” my sister’s car for a trip to town and didn’t come back. He took the car on Friday and on the following Sunday we had to get the police to activate the car’s tracker to find him. We found the car and him at a shopping mall in a town close to Durban. We took him to his parents and suggested to them to send him to a mental institution since he had gone into a deep depression and we were worried that he might hurt himself. When we got the car back it was full of empty alcohol bottles and other junk.

We didn’t hear from him for a while. We needed his help with some computer stuff. He wouldn’t respond to anyone’s email so my sister asked me to try to contact him for help. He responded and helped me with everything I asked for. He wouldn’t talk about what was going on in his life he would just ignore the question. He told me once that he was busy working on himself and just wanted to do this by himself for himself. He was cold and calculating in his responses as if I was a business client. I backed off on the questions but felt that I could’ve helped him if he let me, but just like me he was stubborn and thought he could do it all himself. After he helped us with our problem he didn’t contact me again. He was on Facebook so I would check on what he was doing. He was going out with friends a lot so I thought that he may have stopped his process, so I figured that he might come back eventually.

A while later we found an article saying that Anthony had died. We tried to confirm it through old friends and his parents. I saw on his Facebook profile that his friends were all saying goodbye and so-on. I sent a message to his Facebook profile. I asked if this was true. I begged him for it not to be true. I didn’t want to believe it. I cried while writing it. I blame myself. I punished myself. I isolated myself. I told myself that he was my friend and I killed him. I told myself that I should’ve tried harder.

To Be Continued...
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  1. Cool Support Here!
    Thanks, I Enjoy Reading Your Blogs!

  2. Thanks for sharing, Leslie-John. I know it must be hard to lose a good friend like that.

  3. Thank you for sharing this. I enjoy your writings.

  4. I just read this - when I arrived to the farm, on the way we met with Anthony in 2010...
    Thanks for sharing, LJ!