If only I had known
I still have that conversation on my chat, I look at it every day I get online and regret why I didn't go an extra mile to help him.... I keep telling myself that maybe if I had been less busy things would be different today; maybe that one day he sent a hello message but I was too busy to respond would have made a difference.... yes, now I know how it feels to be on the receiving end.
You see, I only met him once on a cruise sometime in February 2009. I never saw him again but we kept in touch on social media i.e. he would post comments on stuff I put up on my facebook wall and that's it. But about three weeks ago, he raised me on chat for the first time after three years. Obviously I was surprised but something in me told me he needed to talk to someone and since it was around my lunch break and I wasn't planning on going out for lunch, I decided to find out what was eating him up.
Well, the story he shared with me was sad, and I knew the only way to help him was by trying to avert his mind from his problems. And all was going well, or so I thought for the following reasons; on the 1st of October he was going to join a gym; I had managed to rekindle his hobby for reading and infact I had just shared with him a copy of my "Who moved my Cheese" e-book; the following weekend (6th Oct) he was to meet a close friend of mine who I was 100% sure would have helped him realize that he was not the only one going through a trying period.
Monday the 1st of October he raised me on chat again but I was so busy with preparations for a workshop my company was organizing and facilitiating, that I really didn't get much time to chat him. I was on and off and by the time I settled, it was well past 6pm in the evening, and obviously by then only workaholics like me were in the office. However, I still have the last part of my chat with him on that Monday morning:
Him: "Wow i guess the journey of a thousand miles begins with a step. I thank God iam on the right track...."
Me: "It won't be easy but you'll be ok with time...hey, gotta rush... got a meeting somewhere in a few... Wishing you Peace.
Him: "YEAH peace is the best thing to have"
Little did I know that those were the last words I would share with Tom Chomo Mboya.
On Tuesday when I got to the office, the first thing I saw when I logged on facebook was that he had taken his life that very Monday night..... you have no idea what that did to me. I still feel guilty for being so busy. I wish I had known what was going to happen that day, maybe I would have had a word or two to encourage him enough to help him go through that day and night. If only I had one more chance to talk to this young man....
Well, all I have left now are questions... and regrets. He reached out to me on chat but I was too busy for him. Surprisingly, from the many posts on his Facebook wall, it seems like many other people were regretting the same way I was, for being too busy to listen to him. He put up a strong front for all of us and we thought he was ok, but little did we know he wasn't. If only we hadn't been too busy, then maybe between me and all the other people he tried to reach out to, we would have been able to pull him out of the abyss he was in.
Life is not easy and sometimes each one of us needs someone who can be there for them, just listen to them; you may not have a solution to my problem, but maybe your being there and listening to me is all I may need to feel better.
His last facebook status message was:
To all my friends (including me) who are going through some issues right now-- Let's start an intention avalanche. We all need positive intentions right now. If i don't see your name, I'll understand. May I ask my friends wherever you might be, to kindly copy, paste, and share this status for one hour to give a moment of support to all all those who have family problems; health struggles, job issues, worries of any kind and just need to know someone cares. Do it for all of us, for nobody is immune. I hope to see this on the walls of all my friends just for moral support I know some will!! I did it for a friend and you can too. You have to copy & paste this one, no share button...
I did not share this message.
I've shared this story with you because I feel so sad that I wasn't there when he reached out to me that Monday...All I now have is just my thoughts, my regrets and my what-ifs....Maybe, just maybe.....
Let's take time to listen to a friend this weekend - you never know, you might be the lifeline they needed to stay alive. Take time to appreciate someone right now, today, the next minute.... that might be the last time you are seeing them or hearing from them again in this lifetime.
Tom is gone for good now, but not without leaving me with one major lesson; to be there when someone needs me.