Six months in

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.

Tough, right?

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.

13 thoughts on “Six months in

  1. jan

    I agreed – the death of someone you’ve had a complicated relationship with is the hardest. Give yourself more time. It’s okay to be angry with the person.

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      I’m not angry or rather I’m not angry at him for killing himself. I’m still annoyed with him for the things he did alive. If I go back and read old ranting posts he wrote – which I won’t – I bet I could get myself worked up all over again.

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  2. Behind the Story

    Someone I knew committed suicide recently. I didn’t know her well, but I felt as though I did. We were in the same writing group for a time, maybe eight or nine years ago. I ran into her around town every so often. She was maybe sixty years old, divorced. She was devoted to her work for a non-profit. She had a grown daughter. She was a sweet, gentle person. I don’t know how she killed herself. But most of all, I don’t understand why she did it.

    Now I think, didn’t she know how many people cared about her? Even people like me. An acquaintance. But then, when you’re home alone, all those acquaintances who would like to see you live don’t come to mind.

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Exactly. The spiral around or down that takes place in someone’s mind seems to make them immune to thoughts of how others feel or think about them. Or: it just isn’t enough. I have known some pain in my day but not the kind that made me feel I couldn’t be here anymore.

      Someone I cared for dearly was in a bad place and said they considered just letting off the brakes while driving down a hill – I said “No! Think about how much I care about you and other people care about you in that moment,” but the response was words to the effect that this wasn’t what you think in that mind-frame, i.e., it wouldn’t matter.

      There’s a real helplessness when dealing with a person either on the brink-of-suicide or having already done it. You’d like to think you could “do something” but I just don’t know any more.

      I’m sorry about this woman you knew. It has to feel crushing. –Colette

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  3. joey

    When I reflect on my own experience with this, I find there are no words to help me understand. Sheer desperation, yes. Anger, yes. Sadness. Fear. Shock. Just not any words help. As time carries on, I more remember the good of her, but those negative feelings still linger and come forward at times. I’m sorry for your loss. ❤

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Thank you. I’ve get what you’re saying completely. There is just no “good” way to look at it. The void of a suicide is very different from other deaths. I really want to ask (of anyone) if you could do it over again, knowing what you left behind in your wake, would you still do it?

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      1. joey

        I’m sitting here thinking about it and I suppose it depends on the after, doesn’t it? Where is she? What can she see? What does she know? Does she feel regret now? Is she at peace?
        And sometimes I feel badly for judging her, for thinking it was a selfish act. I don’t know what it was like on the inside. I try to fathom how much pain she was in. She was loved, so beloved, but it wasn’t enough to save her.
        When I see the life she left behind, I feel it all over again. Since you shared your life with yours, you must feel it so much more.
        Void is a good way to put it.

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        1. writerinsoul Post author

          Oh no, I wasn’t even friends in the strictest sense with this man. His suicide had a profound effect on me though.(As did the man himself, perhaps more than I realized/admitted – because it wasn’t all good.)

          What you say makes total sense and I have had the exact same thought/quandary over this suicide and others, asking myself who am I to judge if they were in that much pain? And the way I understand it is that people don’t typically kill themselves on a whim; the notion or seed or death-wish has deeper roots.

          Thanks for talking about this with me. I feel for your loss too. –Colette

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  4. Pingback: A Year Later (A bad day in March) | WriterInSoul

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