Im not sure if I can imagine how it happened. My youngest brothers friend. My friend. Nick. He committed suicide a year ago this summer. Im not sure if I even want to know how it happened. The act. Those last moments alone, when someone feels such pain, when they are in so much pain, that pulling a trigger seems like a rationale thing to do. The only thing to do. The right thing to do.
I cannot comprehend this.
I dont want to comprehend this.
Nick was playful. At times child-like, cheerfully throwing punches; with a hint of apprehension. Self-consciousness. Tacitly, he looked for my approval. His friends older brother. Someone he could talk to about boxing - a love of his - politics, or current events. Unfailingly friendly. Genuine. Yet, underneath, you could sense the nervousness. In some way, you could tell there were demons. Inside this great guy - and he truly was one - an obvious battle was raging. Its easy to relate. We all have our moments. Mood swings. Depression. Angst. Just not like this.
Not to the point of no return.
Not so bad that it gets the best of us.
My inclination is to always think of events in a political manner. Thats who I am; its my nature to think of solutions to problems. But how do you find a way to legislate against suicide? No law will stop somebody from pulling that trigger, tying that noose, swallowing those pills. No law can ease someones pain before its too late or their loved ones anguish afterward. After the son of Oregon Senator, Gordon Smith committed suicide, the senate passed mental health legislation. Smith wept bitterly on the senate floor throughout the vote. I would imagine a new law was small solace for his overwhelming loss. I know the law gives me no relief. I think of my friend constantly. Miss him more than ever. No amount of critical thinking or creativity can change any of this.
For once I have no solution.
No grand idea to save the day.
Im not really sure if I should.
A day or two after Nicks death, his girlfriend came over to my apartment, and I was sitting next to her on my futon, trying to articulate my sympathy. I had no words. Nothing coherent. I mentioned the bible, how I had been reading for strength, yet I could not clearly explain what I was getting at. I didnt know. I still dont know. I dont find any meaning to something like this. Just pain. Sometimes I still find myself thinking that hell come over. I constantly wonder what he is doing. I wonder if hed like to come over and watch something on television. I wonder if he could maybe give me a ride to the store. Then I remember he is no longer alive. And, something breaks inside of me every time. Smashes hard in one blunting blow. It makes me ache deeply for several minutes afterward. I feel ashamed in these moments.
Because I forgot he was gone.
And, for what I didnt do.
I knew for at least a month beforehand that something was wrong with him. I could tell he wasnt right. Hed come over later than usual, be jumpy and apprehensive. He looked progressively thinner, sleep deprived and seemed more melancholy with each visit. Yet, I didnt say anything. I never sat down and talked to him. My brother said he feared telling me that he had a drug problem. I suspect he feared telling anyone just what kind of mental pain he was in as well. I do not blame myself, I just wished I had tried something. I wish I went with my instincts. I have long since quit trying to make sense of death. Ive witnessed people torture themselves to death with drugs and alcohol. Known others who have died from various diseases. Had several friends die in accidents, automobile and otherwise. Had a friend shot to death once. None ever made sense to me. But I do know that Nick could have been saved. Thats the only lesson I can think of in this. That there is help out there. Search for it. Seek it out. And, if you know someone who needs some then dont hesitate to reach out. Go with your instincts. I wish I did. You just never know the place someone may be in.
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