I’m writing this because yesterday I was feeling pretty damned depressed, and I posted a message on FaceBook which worried some of my friends. That post read: “If I could go to sleep, and not wake up, that would be great.” They interpreted that as meaning I would commit suicide. Thing is, none of them know that I can’t, and won’t, do so. The following is why.
I was twelve when it happened. I had this really awesome friend, named Scott. He was ten years older than me, three older than his sister, Lisa. I adored him so much, I occasionally called him, “Dad”. He taught me how to play baseball, how to get women to notice me without making a fool of myself, how to find humor in just about any situation. I’d have done anything he asked. Without question. As I said, “I idolized him.” When I grew up, I wanted to be just like him. There were a great many things he taught me. Including his final lesson: Life, and love, are infinitely precious.
January 3, 1993. I was supposed to meet Scott at his house at 1430 to go out and have a snowball fight. We were going to ambush Lisa. Even then, I had a crush on her. He knew it, I’m sure, but he never made fun or even told her. He simply said to wait until I was older and ask her to be straight with me. Ten days later, she revealed her love of women to me. (But, that’s a story for another day.)
He’d always said if I was running late, to simply call and let him know. This time I didn’t. To this day, I can’t tell you why, or what I’d been doing to make me two hours late. I used my key to go in, and called out to him as was my usual thing. I didn’t hear any response. I went walking through the place, trying to find him. In the kitchen, I found a note from him. “Rob, I’m in the bathroom, holler when you get in. -Scott. 3 Jan 1425”
I went up to the bathroom and knocked on the door. The door swung open a bit, and I leaned back, expecting him to jump out at me. He’d been doing this to show me how to control my reactions and expect the unexpected. Seconds later, there was still no Scott. I looked in and discovered him. He was in the tub, both wrists slashed. They were cut so deeply, I could see the bones of his wrists. The tub was filled with his blood. It was so cold in there, that there was a skim of ice around the edges of the water. For the longest time, I blamed myself. If I’d not been late, or if I’d called, he might have still been alive.
The next thing I was aware of, was Lisa. She took me by the hand and took me to her home. I was completely numb. (If you ask my folks, they’ll probably tell you that that was the most well-behaved I’d been in a long time. If, they remember.) For two days, Lisa talked at me. I was simply unable to form a coherent thought, much less able to hold an intelligent conversation. To this day, I don’t remember how she was able to successfully reach me. All I remember was her telling me his philosophy. But she put it forth as her own. “Find the funny in the situation.”
She showed it to me with these words, “You know, for all his talk about his Johnson being unbearably heavy sometimes, he was awfully tiny.” Her delivery was totally deadpan. It was as if she’d just mentioned the weather. It made me laugh until I cried. It was completely unexpected.
As the days, weeks and months went by, she taught me that not only was it not my fault that he’d died, but there was a reason for it. I simply had to learn what it was. She never told me if I was right, or wrong with my conclusion. Just said that it was mine. Oddly enough, she didn’t really ever tell me what her feelings were. Looking back, I now know that she was hurting just as much, if not more than, me.
There it is. The reason I can’t tolerate suicide. I don’t want to be a selfish coward. Dying is the easy part. The ones you leave behind are the true victims. If you really love someone, you will live for them. Even if you feel like your very existence is torture. You will ask them to help you with your problems, not bottle them up until everything you touch becomes poison.