Kent was my friend.
We met over the Internet and became friends five years ago. He was a police officer and he played in a band. He was having personal problems and we exchanged emails. I offered words of support and he took them. He liked my blog and encouraged me to keep writing, sometimes emailing just to ask if I had posted anything new lately.
We only met face-to-face one time. We had lunch at Steak Ďn Shake in Pensacola after knowing each other a couple of years and after that, we went to a tropical fish store.
There were no sparks, but sparks are not all they are cracked up to be. There was a sound and lasting friendship.
Two weeks ago, he posted that his marriage was ending. I saw the post and told him how sorry I was.
Last week, photos of his new baby granddaughter showed up on Facebook. He was a proud grandpa and talked about all the visits to Pensacola he would make from Crestview.
She looks just like him.
The last time he posted anything was on Nov. 18 when talked about his granddaughter. We exchanged admiration of her beauty and then we didnít speak again.
On Monday, he was found dead by his own hand, apparently. He was a Crestview police Lt. and had been with the department for 16 years.
This notice appeared in my work email as a press release from the department that was sent out to all the local media.
The release is saying the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating, but they are pretty sure it was suicide.
I want to talk today about how sad I am, how much I cried last night and how I wish I could have talked to him and stopped him, helped him get back on his feet and focus on the future.
But today, itís not about me.
Today I want you to know who Kent was.
He was a man who loved his family. He was kind and went the extra mile to help someone. He truly wanted the best for people.
He was proud to be a police officer.
He was in a band. They play locally around the Okaloosa County area.
His profile photo on Facebook right now is his new baby granddaughter. He must have been so very sad to take his own life with a new baby in his family. It is difficult to imagine that kind of pain and hopelessness. If I have learned anything in this world, it is when we are so miserable we want to die, just donít do anything. Iím not saying donít reach out for help. Always do that. Talk to a friend or relative or call a professional counselor.
But sometimes pain takes us beyond reaching out. If we are so deep in despair that we would stop our life, then just sit still and wait.
Just stay alive.
Eventually things will change, even if we donít do a thing. Change is one thing we can always count on. And once the crescendo of pain subsides, thoughts of retreating into another world will fade.
I asked his police department for a formal photo of him in uniform, but I think I would rather publish my favorite picture of him, one he has on his Facebook. I think it is how he saw himself in his purest moment of freedom.
God Bless you Kent.
Published: Nov. 30, 2013