Monday, February 11, 2008

On Suicide

I’d be lying if I said I had not considered it. I’d be lying if I said I did not have a plan at one time. That being said, it has not been on my mind for several years and believe it or not I have my dead cousin to thank for that.

The reason for this post is because of an intense, semi-manic conversation I had last week with my friend Dave. As often happens with me, when I am able to connect with someone on a level beyond general friendliness, I allow myself to let go and engage in these crazy, free form rap sessions similar to those described by Tom Wolfe in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Dave and I share many common interests and life experiences, most notably a love for the mountains, divorce/fatherhood, remorse, and depression. As we both struggle to deal with our divorces and parenting situations, depression is a common theme. Not just for us, but for our exes as well (or at least we rationalize that…). Of course, the logical (ignoring the fact that there is no logic to depression) progression of depression is suicide.

Suicide is one of those semi-taboo subjects in America. The majority of people know someone that has been affected by a suicide, if not know someone that has actually done the deed. In my case, my only male cousin killed himself, his mother made an attempt. In the interest of full disclosure I was hospitalized because of my suicidal thoughts. I remember standing in a church in St. Louis on a grey fall day (aren’t they always…) with tears streaming down my face cursing Bob’s decision. What about his son, I kept saying. What a selfish thing to do. Yet there I was less than five years later completely understanding the decision Bob had made.

Despite the fact that I had witnessed the damage done and felt first hand the pain caused by a suicide, I was there. Fully understanding the consequences of my actions yet realizing they were secondary to the great pain I was feeling. It is truly a desperate feeling. Every person you encounter, every comment made, every newspaper story is received and skewed through this filter that you have in the forefront of your mind.

Thankfully, I cannot imagine the act today. I think of my children, my parents, my family and friends, and even of her. None of them deserve the guilt or pain. Granted, I am no joy, but would their lives be better or worse without my presence? I like to think worse, it’ll at least get me to tomorrow and then I will deal with the day after that.

As usual ,Patterson says it best…

My Daddy called me on a Friday morning, so sad to tell me just what you’d done
You tried so hard to make us all hate you but in the end you was the only one
Sick, tired, pissed and wired, you never thought about anyone else.
You tried in vain to find something to kill you
in the end you had to do it yourself.

Who’s to blame for the loveless marriage, who’s to blame for the broken band.
You ran from life and all of it’s pleasures, your own teeth marks on your own damned hand.
Thrown out before the date’s expired, you’d rather die than let anyone help,
You’d rather die than take a stab at living.
Nothing would kill you so you do it yourself.

Everyone has those times when the night’s so long
The dead-end life just drags you down
You lean back under the microphone
and turn your demons into walls of goddamned noise and sound.

And it’s a sorry thing to do to your sweet sister
It’s a sorry thing to do to your little boy
It’s a sorry thing to do to the folks who love you
Your Mama and Daddy lost their only boy
Some should say I should cut you slack, but you worked so hard at unhappiness.
Living too hard just couldn’t kill you
In the end you had to do it yourself.

Living too hard just couldn’t kill you
In the end you had to do it yourself.

Patterson Hood, Drive By Truckers, Do it Yourself

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