Sometimes looking is not enough

Bennett - basking ridge, New Jersey
Entered on February 27, 2009

This I believe

I believe that looks can be deceiving and that what someone appears to be on the outside is not always who they are on the inside. They may seem perfectly fine and act like everything is ok, but on the inside lay demons and pain they won’t let the world see. I was never the one to speak my mind. I would hold all my thoughts and emotions in until I thought I would burst. This changed when one of my best friends committed suicide. I realized then how important it was to share what you were going through. Many people care about you, whether you believe this at the time or not.

Mike Kalamar had the world at his feet. He was one of the most amazing kids that I ever knew. I met him in 2nd grade. We were very similar. We were dorky; we loved Pokémon cards, loved to play on the playground, and loved school work. He had a work ethic like I had never seen before. Whether it was school work, sports or boy scouts – he worked hard at everything. We would hang out together, ski together, swim at our town pool, and even hit on girls together. Mike and I shared lots of times, some good and some bad.

Senior year was huge. Mike’s grades were at an all time high giving him the option of Penn, Brown and other amazing schools. He was a member of the National Honor Society, voted a Distinguished Scholar, selected to be Captain of our school’s Ski Team. He had a loving family and a twin brother that wanted nothing more than to be just like Mike. From what I saw when I was with him I believed he had the world at his feet. But I was wrong.

On October 23, 2007 Mike and I made plans to get together in the evening. Mike said he would call me around 8 so I could pick him up. At 8 PM sharp my phone rang but I didn’t answer it. I was hanging out with a couple of my friends and totally forgot about my commitment to Mike. In retrospect, this is the worst mistake I ever made.

Next day in school I found out that Mike had hung himself in the basement of his home.

From that point until I saw Mike in his casket all of time is a blur. The funeral home was filled with classmates and filled with pictures of the Mike we all thought we knew. Mike with the ski team, Mike with his family, Mike with his friends, Mike holding his Distinguished Scholar certificate, Mike as a smiling baby, Mike as a laughing toddler, Mike as the friend I first met in second grade. Mike who had it all, Mike who was my friend, Mike who I apparently did not know as well as I thought.

I know now that looks can be deceiving. Sometimes looking is not enough, you have to reach out and touch.