By what name do we call the man who has lost a friend?

Posted: July 26, 2013 by jennroig in Chronicles, English
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This title is copied from a quote. Some Joseph Roux wrote this: “We call that person who has lost his father, an orphan; and a widower that man who has lost his wife. But that man who has known the immense unhappiness of losing a friend, by what name do we call him? Here every language is silent and holds its peace in impotence.”

I don’t know Roux as an author. I found the quote on a friend’s FB wall, and I found it was expressing a feeling that was circuling my mind but didn’t manage to take shape, until I read this. I believe the reason why my friend posted this on FB, it’s the same reason I feel this way, it’s because we learned that we lost a common friend. We lost Diao Ying.

Yesterday on July 26th I learned that Ying died. But Ying died on June 4th, in Beijing, China, early in the morning, according some information that is to be found on the Web. Ying decided to commit suicide jumping from a building.

Almost a day has passed and I still don’t understand it. I don’t understand Ying. But I guess I can’t understand nor justify suicide. How do I name the way I’m feeling right now? I personally deal better with mind issues rather than heart issues. Feelings tend to confuse me. Probably that’s why I like to work long hours, because that keeps my brain busy.

Feelings belong to the kingdom of uncertainty, and everything uncertain just freaks me out. Yes, life’s uncertain, I know. But there are ways to cope with that uncertainty, and I think the way I do it is convincing myself that tomorrow will be a different day, that something can change the next minute, and that for sure nothing will last forever. Happiness certainly doesn’t last forever, but the bright side is sadness, or bad luck, or the consequences of any mistake I might make, wont last forever.

The way I feel about Ying confuses me. I didn’t get to know her so well, not as well as some of my friends knew her during the time we shared together. But we talked several times and I saw her smile and felt her warmth. We were together in Florence once we visited a friend there at the same time. She looked so happy.

Diao Ying, Florence, 2010

Diao Ying, Florence, 2010

I cried when I learned about her death. There’s a question hanging from her decision to end her life, and I’m afraid there won’t be an answer.

This terrifies me, because in spite of the distance, and so many differences among us, we had also many commonalities. It’s true she was Chinese and I am Cuban, but we were close in age, profession, we were very focused on our careers, we were single, we come from very difficult countries where it is so hard to grow as a person and there are so many barriers to develop as human being so you see so much decadence around you, and it’s so painful to be aware of it.

But nothing is just black. So you take with you whatever you can that has some worth and figure out what the next move is. You can fight, circumvent obstacles, or you can run away. If you are beaten, you crawl. Everything is legal as long as you keep living to see what’s next.

I don’t know what had gone so wrong in her life, why did she end up feeling so lost and hopeless that she couldn’t see any way out. I’m afraid I won’t figure out whether it was something going south with her job, with her family, if she felt in love and got her heart broken, if she was seriously ill, if she had been extremely embarrassed… What could it be so irreparable?

I want to feel sad, only sad, about Ying, I want to wish light and peace to her soul. But to be honest, I’m mad. I’m mad at Ying because even though I wasn’t the closest friend I would have open my doors to her, I would have listen and do my best to help. Then I’m positive she had many friends that would have done the same and even more! She could have started from the scratch anywhere in this freaking world, she could have even changed her name in the process if she wanted, because she had friends that could have walked with her whatever route she would have picked. Actually, she was young and bright, and resourceful, she could have even found a way to make it by herself. So, I guess that I want to believe the conspiracy theory that maybe Ying could have been secretly murdered by someone, no matter the evidence of whatever little information I have about her situation.

Now she leaves all of us the unanswered question, this unfair sense of guiltiness, which remains there, beneath the objective conclusion that there’s nothing we could have done. And she leaves me with a doubt. I never imagined her as the suicidal type. So now I don’t know. I have friends that I dearly love scattered around the world, will any of them ever think of suicide some day? How could I prevent it from happening?

But I have to deal with the fact that I can only hope this won’t happen to any of my friends ever again.


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