a profound and unexpected loss.

One of my most distinct memories of “R” involved driving back to Nashville, way later than we had promised, after a busy week of long days working from out of town. I was nursing my hangover, slouched against the window with my head resting on a dirty rolled up sweatshirt, in the front seat of a fifteen passenger van. “A” was driving, exhausted and slightly annoyed, while R barely sat on the first row of seats and leaned forward, between us, as he spoke.

Everyone else appeared to be asleep, or possibly eavesdropping, though I was too tired to care.

“I really need to work on my organization…” R blurted out energetically as if he were confessing a deep secret that we didn't experience on a daily basis.

“What do you guys think you need to work on?” He inquired excitedly, then eagerly awaited a candid response from us.

“C'mon, Addison. How many lists do you have on your desk at any given time? Are you seriously that busy? Stop making lists and work on getting that shit done!”

I laughed nervously, filled with embarrassment that my anxious tendencies were suddenly on full display (even if only between the three of us).

“And what about you?” His eyes shot over to A, who drove the car tight-lipped and stoic as ever.

Honestly, it's hard for me to remember A's answer. Probably because it was likely somewhat of a lame non-answer. A minuscule shortcoming that paled in comparison to our naked weaknesses.

But what I do recall is the way R made us promise to make his suggested improvements and checked in with us weekly. He even blurted out his own progress anytime one of us happened to pass his (now immaculately tidy) desk.

That was one of the things I loved about working with him. He was one of the few co-workers I've had with an unquenchable desire to be great, but with complimenting high expectations of the rest of us. He tried to make teamwork happen in the most isolated of workplaces, but eventually left when there was no one to help him achieve the level of greatness he yearned for.

Born into Nashville entertainment industry royalty, he constantly struggled with a self-directed need for high achievement and popularity. It was hard to watch him silently lamenting over his mistakes, road-blocking his own path to success. But he always seemed to rise from the ashes of his failured projects, continually reinventing himself and filling new roles.

He devoured life in every way possible and shared his voracious appetite for all forms of creativity and art with anyone he came in contact with. Perhaps this was what made the news that he had taken his own life, in the most violent way imaginable, heartbreakingly difficult to believe on Sunday night.

Since he had never seen a psychiatrist, we'll never know if he had been unknowingly suffering from bipolar disorder (as his manic behavior last week seemed to indicate). He left his parent's house on Saturday, seemingly happier that ever, but obliged them by agreeing to see a doctor on Monday. Less than twelve hours later, our friend found him.

I'm writing this at dusk, tucked against the side of the stairwell just outside the front of my office building. Many people are leaving work for the day, the rock band at the club across our parking lot is sound checking for tonight's gig, and birds are chattering from trees that have just barely started to flower.

I'm leaving momentarily to meet a friend for Cuban food.

And life, as we've always known it, continues without him. Perhaps what makes a suicide so unbearably difficult is the burden of moving forward with still so many unanswered questions. My hope is that those closest to R will be able to find peace and stillness within their lives.

Readers: How have you coped with a profound and unexpected loss?

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Discussions — 23 Responses

  • Income Surfer April 4, 2014 on 11:20 am

    Everyone encounters loss, and there is no uniform way to address them. Some of my losses, time helped ease. Some I saw a counselor for. In the situation you described above, I’m sure you felt nagging questions of “why”……mixed with plenty of survivors guilt. I’m sorry for your loss :o/

    • Addison Cash Income Surfer April 4, 2014 on 10:01 pm

      Thanks for the kind words and suggestions, Bryan.

  • debT debS April 4, 2014 on 1:02 pm

    Oh I’m so sorry, Addison. I lost an acquaintance from work last week to suicide. It’s just so incredibly sad. A great loss. Definitely need to pray for their families.

    • Addison Cash debT debS April 4, 2014 on 10:00 pm

      So sorry to hear about your co-worker. Such a devastating thing.

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach April 4, 2014 on 2:01 pm

    I’m so sorry Addison. I know that can be terribly shocking. I’ve lost a couple people I know rather suddenly and it can really throw you for a loop. Please take care of yourself and my thoughts are with you!

    • Addison Cash Tonya@Budget and the Beach April 4, 2014 on 10:00 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Tonya. Much appreciated.

  • Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life April 4, 2014 on 2:55 pm

    Sorry for your loss Addison. It’s been a while since I lost someone (knock on wood), but it’s never easy.

    • Addison Cash Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life April 4, 2014 on 9:59 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Stefanie. Definitely never easy.

  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde April 4, 2014 on 4:26 pm

    Wow Addison, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. We lost my husband’s brother in an accident 12 years ago, and we are all still impacted by his loss. Suicide is a painful thing for those left behind to process, but you can only hope that your friend has found peace and that should give you peace. Sending warm thoughts your way!

    • Addison Cash Shannon @ Financially Blonde April 4, 2014 on 9:59 pm

      Thanks for sharing your story, Shannon.

  • Anneli @thefrugalweds April 4, 2014 on 6:28 pm

    Big, big hugs to you, Addison!! I’m at a lost for words.
    You can never prepare for such things to happen and it always jolts you to your core.

    When I was in college – a close friend of mine who I also went to high school with was killed in a drunk driving accident. She was the drunk driver – and she killed a father of 2 when she collided into oncoming traffic in the freeway. It was a shock and I remembered being frozen soon after I heard the news.

    I think for me, it’s been very important to honor my friend by remembering all the great times we shared and the lessons I learned from her. Apart from that, I also make sure that I learn from her mistake and never drive drunk.

    I am keeping you in my thoughts today, friend!

    • Addison Cash Anneli @thefrugalweds April 4, 2014 on 9:58 pm

      Thanks for the kind words, Anneli.

  • SavvyJames April 5, 2014 on 9:45 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story and I’m sorry for your loss.

    • Addison Cash SavvyJames April 6, 2014 on 1:26 am

      Thanks for the kind words, James.

  • Dividend Mantra April 6, 2014 on 11:55 pm


    Terribly sorry to hear of that. It’s never easy to deal with such things.

    I lost my mother to suicide via a massive drug overdose when I was 20. Although she’s better off, it was still pretty shocking.

    For me, life offers so much with so little time to experience it. I could never imagine purposely cutting it short, but I suppose it’s difficult to say unless I was in someone else’s shoes.

    Best wishes!

    • Addison Cash Dividend Mantra April 7, 2014 on 2:34 am

      So sorry to hear about your mother, Jason. I’m sure that must have been extremely difficult for you. Thanks for the kind words and sharing your story.

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  • J. Money April 12, 2014 on 12:23 pm

    Sorry to hear man 🙁

    • Addison Cash J. Money April 12, 2014 on 4:19 pm

      Thanks for commenting, J.

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