Life sometimes doesn’t make sense. My friend, Aaron Nicholson, ended his own life last week. He and I had lost contact with each other after I graduated college, but he was always in my thoughts and prayers. Before I knew Aaron, who was a year younger than me, I knew his brother Jim. Jim and I went to elementary school together in Orlando and later, we attended the same church. Through choir, I met Aaron. Aaron was the taller, more energetic brother. He had an infectious, loud laugh and had the largest, toothiest smile. He was the comedian of the group and instantly became popular at church after he showed off his Jim Carey impersonation. As time went on, we became good friends- especially in high school. Though we attended different schools, we were friends through church attendance- Wednesday night choir and Sunday youth group. We went on many choir trips and youth trips over the years where many memories were made. He started dating my good friend Heather so it seemed that during my senior year my free time was spent at church or with my church friends. We hung out at Subway, where Aaron and Jim worked, at Heather’s house, or in the youth group room at church. Those days were happy.
After I graduated from high school, I moved to Gainesville to attend the University of Florida. Aaron followed one year later and moved in with his brother Jim. Our friendship continued . . . we’d meet for lunch on campus or hang out with our mutual friends at his apartment. Every week I’d cook for him and our friend Andy- I’d pack my pots and pans and lug them over to his kitchen. He always raved about my sloppy Joes. By this time, I noticed a change in Aaron. Most of our conversations consisted of me cheering him up. I never understood why he was so down or why he never wanted to go out. I thought this party-pooper attitude was a phase. Unfortunately, we began to grow apart during my senior year of college. It was a happy time for me and Aaron was in a different place. Upon graduation, I moved to Jacksonville and lost contact with the Nicholson brothers. On March 15, 2002, the day I got engaged, I got a phone call. Aaron was on the prayer chain at church after he made an attempt on his life. More than 5 years later, he tried again and succeeded. Life doesn’t make sense. What demons cause such a vibrant man to become so depressed? Why is it so difficult to comprehend that he’s gone? Even though we haven’t spoken since 2000, his death hit me like a ton of bricks. In death, I hope he’s found happiness. I just wish he could have found it here, in the land of the living. Rest in peace, Aaron.