It is with sad thoughts that I write this blog today. I received a phone call from Ontario from the sister of someone who I will call a friend of mine that took his life at the end of November because he ultimately wanted his pain and hurt to go away. I will call this person RW.
RW was a gentle soul. He didn’t want to ever hurt anyone. He pursued a life of wanting to help. Before October 10, 2012, I never knew who RW was or where he lived. I got a phone call on my landline about a week after Oct 10 asking for me. I happened to answer my phone that night. RW explained who he was and why he was calling. He had heard about Amanda’s story and wanted to share his condolences. He told me he knew how Amanda felt. I talked to RW that night while the people in my house were giving me questioning looks as to who I was speaking with on the phone. They could hear parts of my conversation and were only looking out for me. I ignored them.
I remember a time when RW and I were talking about snowball plants. He had one in his garden from when he mother was alive. RW wanted me to have one so he went online and to his local gardening store to find out about them. The name of the plant? When it should be planted? When it would bloom? That was his nature. (Why didn’t others see that in him instead of pounding his confidence down?)
On Light Up Purple, he wanted to tell the world to light up. He had plans to come to BC one day to see the west coast and sit on Amanda’s bench. He had dreams of when he was retired and what he could do.
In my heart, I knew that RW needed a friend and someone to talk to. He was so heartbroken about Amanda and had looked me up to find my contact info. I usually don’t answer my home phone but that night I did. I am glad I did so. For the next 14 months, RW contacted me and shared his thoughts. It was just another someone to talk to for him. He had cut out articles on Amanda. He sent me small gifts which were things he wanted me to have. A keychain with a maple leaf penny on it for the time that Amanda and I were on the pier in Whiterock. Remember the penny stories and the maple leaf.
RW was a thoughtful person. More so that some of his family members gave him credit for. He shared these things with me in his emails and phone calls. I had told him that I was here for him. Everyone needs someone.
In August of 2013, I was in the Toronto, Ontario area. I arranged with Rob that we would could get together and meet in person. He was overjoyed that this was happening. I remember his emails about how excited he was. Even that he was a month early in the dates. When the date/time finally arrived, someone drove me to his home city and we met. He was wearing the ATLS Stay Strong t-shirt and he cried when he met me. I am sure that with his gentle ways, he is known well in his small city.
RW was excited to have me see the house he lived in. The things he enjoyed doing. Snowmobiling. Collecting treasures. Gardening. I only wish that I had had more time to spend visiting him.
I knew about the stresses and traumas that he was going through in the past 3 months. He emailed me. I didn’t know anyone in his family to share his stresses with. That makes me sad.
I received a phone call today from RW’s sister. I learned that RW died a day before Amanda’s birthday. For a moment, I thought if Amanda was someone that could have made life worse. After talking to RW’s sister, it wasn’t that. RW found strength in Amanda’s story and what she went through. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. RW shared with me how much of Amanda’s story he felt connected to. I encouraged him to talk and find some ways to make his life brighter. He said he would.
I found a photo of RW and myself taken in the summer. He had his Amanda Todd Stay Strong wristbands on. He told me that he would never take them off. He had other things too. He knew about the snowflakes. He shared the message as we all did.
I am so sad and heartbroken to have received this news today. I wish that people (even family members) could treat each other with more respect. Preying on the fragility of others is NOT a good thing. Subsequently, another life is gone.
This has shaken me more than I expected it would. I had only known RW for 14 months and only met him in person once. Similarly, there are people in other parts of Canada that I have met only once and contact frequently. Yes, I would be equally sad if something happened to them. I guess that my heart is also more out on my sleeve but I also have more angels protecting me from my tears.
Here is the treasure that RW sent to me last spring. I will be gifting it to his sister because I know that is what he would have wanted and it is the ‘right’ thing for me to do
To RW and Amanda, I hope that you are both safe where you are. To Amanda, there is now an adult that I know up in heaven watching you and your friends.
You are both snowflakes in my heart!!! RIP my Snowflake Princess and to RW (our friendship was far too short) xoxo