At least I believe in Heaven.

An old, high school classmate and cross country teammate died this past weekend. Suicide. I was shocked. Saddened. And unnerved. Why suicide? Why, anything?

I hadn't seen him since graduation, most likely. I don't remember, and I wonder if I should. In high school we were acquaintances, really. Two people sharing a common hometown, common friends. I wouldn't say were weren't friends, but until I read his obituary last night, I wouldn't have been able to tell you his birthday. He turned 25 on November 24.

I met him in eighth grade on a class trip, and in the following four years passed him in hallways, laughed at his antics in class, heard his name come off the lips of others impressed with his wrestling talent. He had so many friends. And promise. We were a small cross country team, and you don't forget a laugh like his. The humor, that smile and his genuine goodwill.

Suicide is a scary thought. Did he say goodbye, in his own way? Did he know? Does he realize the devastation he left behind with his family, his friends? I won't pretend to understand suicide, but I believe he's in Heaven. Life should be judged in the way it's lived, not the way it's ended.

Until I read his obituary, I wouldn't have been able to tell you he had a nephew that adored him. Or a successful apprenticeship. I don't know who his best friend is anymore. I don't know why. Maybe no one does.

I wish I wouldn't have read his obituary.

Rest in peace. 11/14/1981 - 01/05/2007