Soon it will be six months since the man I knew killed himself. I find that hard to believe. That a measurable chunk of time has passed. For me though, it has passed quickly. Life has kept me relatively occupied in that time frame.
I say his name, his first name, aloud. I don’t know if I think I am saying it to him or to myself. I want him to hear me. I don’t believe he does. I want him to know that I gave a shit that he is dead. I want him to be here pissing me off with his online diatribes and vitriolic rants. I want him to be here writing those posts full of puns that irritated me and made me roll my eyes. I want him to be here riding his bike around town and playing tennis, a more recent pastime, on the courts with his friends. I want him to be here laughing loudly and easily, being the pied-piper that he was at the center of a group, regaling them with stories and opinions. I just want him to be here.
His suicide is a bitter, bitter pill.
One of his favorite topics was crime. He was a bit obsessed with crime in our community. He’d write these long things where he’d attempt to prove that our immediate community was one of, if not THE most crime-ridden place in the country. He’d pull out statistics and numbers. He’d say that we were all blind and in denial to the hotbed of criminal activity surrounding us. He thought it was his job to “wake up” the sleepy citizens. Is there crime here? Yes, there is. I don’t like it. But I don’t feel as endangered as he wanted people to feel. I don’t think his assessments were altogether accurate and I am CERTAIN they were informed by his own prejudices and personal experience.
I never understand if this was such a god-awful place to be why he didn’t just move away? To a nice, peaceful burg where fawns frolicked in the woodlands (oh wait we have that) and nobody ever did anything bad. Of course no such place exists. What did he want from us? What did he want? What did he want?
Isn’t that what I wonder about him generally? What did he want? He was just so damned relentless. Where an average person would have said, about any given topic, it’s time to give this a rest, that’s when he said it’s time to kick this into another gear. I saw him as the man in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, who in a battle, has been shed of all his limbs, and is now just a torso on the ground, still taunting his opponents, calling them cowards, telling them to come back and fight, threatening to gnaw on their legs. That was the man I knew.
He was such a big ball of intense energy that I just can’t quite grasp that all that energy is gone. Just gone. And this isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve been through deaths, through grief; I am well-versed in the disbelief, the searching behaviors, all that stuff. But people about whom I’d say they are “larger than life” are not so common.
I read years ago that dealing with the deaths of people who you had difficult relationships with is the hardest. Convoluted in life, convoluted in death (those are my words). My feelings are not clean and tidy. The shock I felt the morning I learned what he had done – shot himself in the head in the center of town – has worn down some. But a shock of that size takes time to resolve itself. There is the fact that he’s dead and there is the fact of how he did it.
I don’t cry now. I just think. Reflect. Go about my life.