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An Old Friend Grieves Over His Buddys Suicide
Written By: Mark Smith


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I have a very somber topic to revisit this week. Last October I quoted the following from the January 3rd 2004 edition of the Kokomo Tribune

"Kokomo police SWAT members found 47-year-old Timothy McFarland fatally shot inside his home late Friday after police were called to his home on a report that he had threatened to commit suicide."

Timothy McFarland was one of my boyhood heroes. He was a 4-year starter at point guard for the Kokomo Wildcats. Believe me - that was a big deal back then. He was quiet, confident, good-looking and incredibly talented. He was Kokomo's 70's version of Damon Bailey. I once saw him win a tournament game with a full court behind the pass. This week I received several very poignant e-mails from a boyhood friend of Tim's named Mark Miller. Mark has been living in Florida for many years and he just recently learned of Tim's death. He connected with me because he did a web search that brought him to my October column.

I'll let Mark Miller take over the column here

"I just read your web page concerning suicides. Tim McFarland and I were good friends during high school. Learning of Tim's suicide created a still sadness in me. He would have been the last person I would have thought this would happen to. Throughout high school, he had everything going for him. I am still shocked how such a great guy, talented basketball player and well liked man could been in such a state to take his own life."

I then asked Mark about his memories of Tim. You can hear a lot of love, affection and pain as Mark shares"I was never talented like Tim. We played numerous hours at Foster Park and it was a great privilege for me to have such a terrific group of close friends. Those three years years produced the strongest and fondest memories for me. I remember Tim had a great relationship with his family. He had some very impressive basketball skills - behind the back passes and his on run driving hook shots. His form was perfect, straight-up off the floor effortless jump and all you would see was a flick of wrist. Tim was never stingy with the ball, always looking for an assist over his owns points, yet scored over 1000 points in his career. Tim was very easy going, always clean cut and always dressed with precision. I rarely remember seeing him wearing jeans to school. He usually wore dress pants and shirts."

"After a home game, it would not be unusual for all of us to be at Tims family's home. We would sit around and talk about the game, eat pizza and always joking around with a lot of warm-hearted laughter. The parents and relatives beamed with pride in Tim's ability and talent. He always remained unchanged from my standpoint, concerning his popularity. He was never cockyand from my observations remained humble. Tim was just destined to become an amazing basketball player."

His love for family was easily noticed. Tim was not only a highly talented and inventive basketball player but he was an overall good kid. He displayed a warm genuine, compassion and a respect for his family. Tim had an uncanny quick wit that always made me laugh. He loved to joke around and laugh. His friendship made growing up fun. I am not sure what else to tell you, it has been many years. But I still have memories that seem like yesterday."

This was such an awful tragedy. Suicide is the most powerfully impacting act that anyone can commit. It reverberates its shocking, shattering pain, violence and massive abandonment throughout communities and families for many generations to come. It is the ultimate abandonment. I wanted my reader's to hear Mark Millers pain as he freshly wrestled with his old buddy's shocking suicide. In Tim's honor, this column is a message aimed at the hearts of those of you who have a secret - those of you who know that you are going take your own life someday. I know that there are more of you out there than any of us want to believe. My message to you is simple - please don't do it. There are people all around you who love you. While harming yourself would end your pain you have no idea how much pain would be caused to so many people if you take yourself away from the world. Tim's suicide shattered Mark Miller 30 years after their lives took different paths. If you are in that much pain please share your secret with a friend or a family member and then contact a qualified therapist immediately. They will be able to give you the help that you need.

I'll let the other Mark finish the column"I wish I could have known Tim's pain toward the end of his life. His taking of his life still comes to me as a great surprise."

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This article was authored by Family Tree Counseling Associates, a marriage, individual and family counseling center serving the Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield and Noblesville communities in Indiana. If you would like to contact us, please fill out a contact us form or call us at 317-844-2442.
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