A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks that I’ve hesitated to write about until I had my head wrapped around exactly what it was I felt. Aside from the usual sturm-und-drang and minutial drama, some serious events have happened in the lives of people close (and not so close) to me, which has put me in a contemplative mood.
To sum up:
The younger brother of one of my high school classmates drowned in a lake.
A FOAF who I’d met a few times at various gatherings (including the wedding I did flowers for; he was best friends with my friend Julie’s friend Len and was all wrapped up in that circle of friends) committed suicide last weekend.
Despite what the topic of my college honor’s thesis might have you think, I’ve never been one to ruminate much on death. I’d prefer to think about just about anything else, actually. And I’ve been lucky in my life, because only one person I was in any way close to has died (my grandpa, when I was 15, and I was hardly at all close to him). People I’ve known have died, but none of them were people I was ever all that invested in. Three of my high school classmates died in the first 5 years after we graduated (one previously-unknown heart condition, one car accident, one gang shooting) but I didn’t know any of them very well. The saddest deaths in my life have been those of childhood pets.
But just because I’m not personally sad for the recent deaths of people I knew doesn’t mean I’m not sad for my friends who are affected by those deaths. The first death was an accident. He was a young guy and it’s sad when a young life is cut short, but it really doesn’t have much of an effect on my life. And quite frankly, more than anything I’m really angry about the second guy. I’m angry for a lot of reasons.
First of all, this guy was really nice. I met him at several parties and events over the years, and really only had a chance to talk to him at the wedding last month. He was very friendly and we had a great conversation, and I’ve since learned that most people who knew him thought he was just a great guy, unassuming and easy to talk to. He had a lot of friends and family who cared deeply for him. He never told anyone that he was contemplating suicide, so it was shocking to Julie and his other friends (to say the least) when they heard the news. Apparently he had his suicide note delivered to his sister’s house via couriered mail while the authorities were there to inform her of his death. She couldn’t believe he would have done such a thing, but there it was, in writing.
As nice as he was in life, this guy hurt a lot of people with his death. Several people I care about are deeply upset by his suicide, particularly because he is the second in this circle to commit such an act in the last two years. The first death affected everyone very strongly, and his just made it worse. Now obviously I haven’t read his note and I didn’t really know him, but he knew he had family and friends who loved him that would be devastated by his act and he did it anyway. In my opinion, suicide is a huge Fuck You to the world. This particular person’s suicide was a big Fuck You to a whole lot of people I know. It hurts me to know that my friends hurt and grieve, and it hurts me to know that someone can feel so badly about his life, however good it may have seemed on the surface, that shooting himself in the head seems like his best option.
Since these deaths, I’ve been on a bit of a murder-mystery book kick. I don’t know whether it’s an escape into brain candy or a way to lessen the blow by reading about things even more scary and gruesome. Maybe a little of both. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how a person gets to the point where offing him/herself is a better idea than continuing to live. Anyone out there who can explain it to me?