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DON

A little over a year ago, my girlfriend bought me an hour long guitar lesson as a Valentine’s Day gift. See, her daughter had been taking lessons at this little school, and one night that I drover her to the lesson, I heard another one of the teachers just playing some sweet guitar. I told my girlfriend about it, and sweetheart that she is, she got me a lesson with him.
It was supposed to be a one time deal, but I ended up staying for more than a year.

As time went on, my teacher opened up to me.
We had similar tastes in music, and also we were about the same age, and our lives had other similarities, so I guess there was a connection of sorts.
Sometimes, I really looked forward to going to the lesson, even though I rarely practiced between lessons. Well, I did in the beginning, but that’s neither here nor there.
But other times, I just didn’t feel like going.
It was becoming an obligation, and I was losing interest. At least in the actual lessons.
But usually a good ten minutes of the lesson was just BSing and talking and stuff, and that was kinda cool.
At least at first.
Eventually even that started to lose its appeal, because, unfortunately, a lot of the talk became about the girl who left him. I understood his pain and frustration, but it started becoming uncomfortable.

I had originally been a Saturday student, but eventually switched to Tuesday nights, so I could take my girlfriend’s daughter to her class (with a different teacher) and take my class at the same time. My girlfriend had started school on Tuesday nights so it was a win / win. But after her class was done for the semester, going to the lessons became more of a burden, and so last week, I went to my lesson, and at the end, paid, as usual, but also gave my teacher a gift card from Best Buy as a thank you, and told him I was done.
He told me that my decision really bummed him out, and that I shouldn’t quit, and finally, although I shook his hand at the end, something I hadn’t done since the early lessons, he told me he’d see me next week.
I just chucked a little and walked out.
That would be the last time I saw him.

This Tuesday, a week later, my girlfriend took her daughter to her lesson, and called me to tell me that my teacher’s room was completely empty. Very weird, because his room used to be full of stuff. Practically standing room only…
When she got home, she told me what deep down inside, I was scared to hear:
Don took his own life.

We found out through another teacher, that Don had been very depressed, and was acting strange and giving stuff away, and that that Tuesday morning, he shot himself.

I’ve never known anybody who committed suicide.
I always feel down and depressed, but I can’t imagine getting to the point where you say, “fuck it”, and kill yourself. I just can’t wrap my head around it.

And while his main stressor was the broken relationship, there must have been other things going wrong for him, and that’s where my guilt kicks in. he had told me I was one of his highlights. Maybe he needed me there for those lessons more than I could ever imagine. I’ll never know for sure, but I know I am so sorry that this happened, and my heart breaks for this poor man who was so unhappy that he gave up in the worst way possible.

You deserved better Don.
I hope somehow, you’ve found peace…

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