November 25, 2009


I've been thinking about suicide. Not about committing it (I promise!) but about suicide in general. Not so long ago one of the people most dear to me in the world committed suicide. He was my brother, my friend, my listener, my Eric. I got a call from my Mom at 7 am and I knew before I even answered the phone that it was going to be terrible news. I'm not a morning person, my Mom knows this, she would never call that early except to deliver a devastating blow. I answered the phone and Mom was crying. Crap. "Oh yeah, this is going to be bad", I thought for a split second before she said, "Eric is dead. He's dead, he killed himself last night". The floor dropped out from under me in an instant. Eric? "Eric who?", I irrationally thought to myself. It was my moment of denial, my precious split second where my mind wouldn't even accept that my brother had killed himself. It was someone else, some other Eric, and not one that I even knew. "He shot himself", was the only other thing my Mom said because shortly thereafter I hung up, and shaking hard turned to Joe and told him the news before I couldn't even speak anymore. I spent the entire day in some state of crying. Either just finishing up a round of tears, just starting one, or right in the middle with my head pounding and my nose flowing. I spent the next day exactly the same way. And I couldn't stop the terrible images in my head. For some reason my imagination would not stop torturing me by playing the whole scenario over and over in my mind.

Terrible questions occurred to me, questions I would never ask and I was sure that I did NOT want to know. "Did it hurt? Was it instant? Was he crying? Was he at peace with his decision?" Awful things that I'll never know and I'm sure I'm better off for it. That day Eric removed himself from my world, from our world. And it was violent, tragic, and just plain unacceptable. What do you do when one of the people you love most in the world actually puts a gun to his chest and pulls the trigger? I'll tell you, you spend countless days, weeks, then months feeling just fine one minute and then having it come and bite you in the arse while you're driving to the grocery store. I have arrived at many destinations in tears because of a song on the radio, on my iPod, something I've seen that jogs the sleeping monster in my head back into awareness, and I must sit in my car until I feel calm again. It's a sad existence. I was pushed into a very dark place that day my Mom gave me the news, and I have so far been unable to fully come back from it.

I went home to Texas for his funeral last February. And the whole experience felt like it was happening to someone else. I felt sort of detached from everything. At his viewing I couldn't bear to look at him or touch him. I spent the entire 2 or 3 hours standing as far from his coffin as I could and averting my eyes when I was forced to stand near him. I hate to cry in front of other people and I knew that if I saw more of him than an accidental glance afforded, that I would break down into a sobbing mess. I haven't been back to Texas since. And that is unusual. I generally visit several times per year. I'm going back for the first time since Eric died this December, and I'm absolutely dreading it. I'm mad at Texas for even continuing to exist without Eric there too. I'm afraid everything will look and feel different being there and knowing that he's not breathing the same star-spangled air as I am. Only 1/3 of Eric is still even in Texas. He was cremated and his biological mother took 1/3 back to Virginia, while his wife planned to scatter 1/3 of him in the ocean, and my Mom, Eric's beloved adopted Mom, took the other 1/3 to hold for safe keeping. Just until Eric's wife decides what to do with the rest.

There were so many things I loved about Eric. And I loved him so much, so many of us did. My senior year I had a guy ask me to prom and I said "yes". I got a dress, made an appointment to have my hair and makeup done professionally, and got myself all excited. Just a couple of days before the prom my date had bad news. He couldn't go anymore, but he was really sorry. I guess he had gotten himself into some kind of trouble and his parents wouldn't allow him to go anymore. I was so upset, as you can probably imagine. My Mom told Eric what had happened, and guess what he did. He rented a tuxedo the day of the prom and he took me himself. No one knew he was my brother because he was quite a bit older and never went to my highschool, and we looked nothing alike because we weren't biologically related. So everyone thought I brought a really cool, older guy to the prom. That's just the kind of guy he was.

I'm sorry to be a downer, but it's on my mind. Eric left behind a sweet wife and a wonderful son. He left behind my other brother, who was his best friend in the world. And he left me behind, something I haven't quite forgiven him for. Why do people do things like this, you ask? I think you might as well ask what the purpose of life is, for all the clarity you'll get in answer. When you boil everything down and stop asking questions that really have no answers, you're left with a hole. A big, gaping hole that is filled with nothing but the substanceless feelings of remorse, sorrow, and how much you miss him.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go find a bucket of ice cream...
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