Print Story Grief.
By blixco (Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 12:32:08 AM EST) (all tags)
I found this user name, blixco, back when he and I were a team. This moniker was created in that short, fantastic time. I was not me until he and I and all of us created the reality we created. And now he has died.

We drove a lot, middle of the night, music blaring. Gordon and I, we drove. We'd both be awake, we'd both be just as lost in our purpose, and we'd both be wanting to leave. So we'd leave. We'd drive, we'd stop at truckstops on the borders of town, and we'd smoke and drink bad coffee.

We'd met when I was 20 or so. I've talked of it here.

He of the leather jacket and black T shirts and engineer boots. He of the coffee and cloves and the stories of ghosts in the valley. His eyes, so much depth there. He shunned television, he read constantly, consuming words. Cars, music, books. Women, trouble.

When I got my first computer job, it was he that I called to join me. I helped create a technician in him, helped him get his legs in the field. When I moved to a new job, he moved with me. When I fucked off to California, it was he who drove with me. Whenever I needed a spine, it was he who supplied it.

I counted on him, on his laughter and honesty and capability. But when my wife and I moved away, we moved away. We cut off. And we saw him, he visited and we visited, but it was different. His horizon expanded. We both moved on, keeping in touch but not the day to day. He had a job working from home. This isolation proved dangerous. He moved from New Mexico to Colorado and back, different towns, different routines. Got married, got divorced, got remarried.

We stayed in touch but lost the connection. Maybe it was that we couldn't maintain that energy. For a few years there he and I and my friend Mike were all one organism. We were three brothers, created by choice and pain and joy.

Back in September of this year, just after my grandmother died, he emailed. He needed to talk. Drink and depression were destroying him and his second marriage. His life had taken a dark turn. Despite the sheer number of friends, close friends that would give him their blood, he felt adrift, alone, and lost. 

He called. Things were very, very bad. I could barely understand him, his speech was so off, so alien. I basically begged him to get help, to talk to his wife about it. He called again, and was worse. She'd left after arguing, he was incapable of talking to her. Some dark evil thing was in him. It was not him talking to me. It was this thing, this alien thing. I said something about, we can't just give in. He said, I guess I should take the bullets out of the gun then? At that point I realized it wasn't him, and that he was close to the edge, and I had no words.

I am good with words, at times. It's what I do. But I was in no place to save him; I had no idea what to say. I'd end up begging and crying. Instead, I asked if I could have my friend, a counselor, call him. He agreed. My friend called him, talked to him, then talked to his wife. Gordon set out to find help. Bad things happened, 72 hours passed, and he finally checked into detox.

But then, once out, he did not follow up. By now we were in Europe for a vacation. He relapsed, was fired from work, was in very very rough shape. On return, I heard from his wife, he was steps away from police and forcible commitment but decided to check himself into rehab. We start talking very often on the phone, and very often by email. I heard from him every couple of days.

Finally, he started to see what needed to be done. His wife, though, was done for now; she asked him to move out by December 1. He got counselling, started going to AA daily (complained bitterly about the God aspect) and found a psychiatrist. He found a place to  live. He found a job almost immediately.  He started sounding like himself, though with much regret. Despite that, he knew what was required. He continued to fight and work hard. The last I spoke to him, we talked of the trip to California, we talked about the future, of us visiting for the holidays and of him coming here. He knew there was hard work ahead, but he knew it was worth it. I felt, finally, that he was on the right track. So much hard work to get there. He checked in with me at least every two days. He told me how things were going. He was working the steps, he was getting on meds, he had a great counselor. We talked and I told him I'd do whatever it took. We talked about him coming out here, staying with us. We talked about the future.

Some time between December 12th and December 17th, 2012, he killed himself. This after months of frantic work to get better. Alcohol, depression, bipolar disorder. He'd long been capable of highs and lows the likes of which I'd never seen. I distinctly remember one night in 1994 or so, out in front of my wife's parent's house...well before she and I were married, when we were all just friends...and he was so far down. So goddamn far down. And I spent hours, hours talking him back, challenging him, letting him know how much we needed him. Hours of words, thousands of spells cast. It had worked then.

Not this time. This time, some alien goddamn thing infected him, some alien goddamn darkness had killed him. It was not him that pulled the trigger. Our mutual friend Ryan called me Monday night...we, a number of us, had been trying to reach him, knew it was odd that he hadn't called anyone, thought maybe he was just busy at work. Hoped he was just busy at work. Finally one of our friends had the police do a welfare check. Ryan called me, and he just said, it's bad news. And he and I both fell apart. And Laurea, poor Laurea...she's known him since the 9th grade. She and I just dissolved. In my life, I have never felt so completely destroyed by death. In my life, I have never wanted more for something to be false. I kept expecting him to call and say, hey, just joking! As it stands, I still cannot go to work, I cannot function properly. I can write. I cannot speak. I keep getting nailed by these waves of grief so huge that they consume me.

When someone commits suicide, you go through all of these phases where you're angry at them, and you're crushed to think how much pain they must have been in, and I'm trying so very hard not to imagine any of that last minute of his life. 

I still email him. I've sent him pages of emails, trying to scream him back to life. Begging him to not be dead. Bargaining with that alien thing that killed him. Apologizing for not doing more, not having the right combination of words. I still have all this shit to tell him. I still have all this stuff to say. He can't just be gone like that. Not like that. Not him.

I'm crushed, gutted, hollow. It hurts like hell. I can't imagine what his last few minutes were, but some part of my brain tortures me with them. Knowing the medical facts, the details of how these things work. And I want to scream. I want to just scream his name and invoke him here, safe, secure.

Waves crashing over head. Those first few hours, I thought I'd drown.

And yet. Over on facebook we set up a goddamn memorial page. And he'd have fucking hated that. But 70-ish people so far have contributed pictures and stories, have said things, and have helped. Yeah, goddamn facebook. Any medium would have worked, and this has reach. So many people, so many friends who loved him, and I realize now how tiny my part in his life was, and if that was tiny? If that was tiny his life was HUGE, gigantic, beyond measure, and it was filled with so much good, so much beauty. So much love.

It's been better today. I can sort of breathe. I'm not completely adrift. We, all of his friends, we're finding him in all of these years of history, and we're finding ourselves. I'm learning, I need to reach out more. I have a fraction of what he had, his life was rich. I need to live up to his standard. We all do. We all do.

I think of his laugh. I think of him in the dashboard lit passenger seat, cigarette glowing, 3am cool dark night slipping by at 4 cylinder rhythm, I think of him saving my ass so many times, and of me trying to save him, and mostly? Mostly I think of what was, and what will never be. And it fills me with a sweet sadness, and I know this:

The universe is constant. You cannot subtract energy from it, you cannot add energy to it. And when we die, we simply become part of every thing.

Find fire, make way.
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Grief. | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Consequences of Suicide by jimgon (4.00 / 3) #1 Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 06:21:22 AM EST
My brother committed suicide someting like seven years ago.  The anger can flare up even now.  It doesn't go away.  The wounds scab over, but they never heal.  And I'm really sorry that both of you and Laurea have to go through this. 

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
It's odd, by blixco (4.00 / 5) #3 Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 10:44:20 AM EST
because I've had small moments of anger at him, but I don't feel that at all now. It wasn't him.

I know it isn't something I'll get over, or forget, or even let go of completely. This knowledge of what and how are cursed into the fibers of my memory of him. I'll learn to forgive that part of him that killed him. I'll have to eventually, or I'll never be free of it.

In a very inappropriate salute, a number of us are meeting at his favorite brewpub in Las Cruces. People I've never met, who I know through his stories, who know me through his stories. We'll be strangers connected by that fucking guy, and thus strangers no more. I plan on buying a round for as many people as I can, and leaving a pint for him at the bar. Just in case.

"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin
[ Parent ]
I'm so sorry by Gedvondur (4.00 / 3) #4 Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 11:15:08 AM EST
Be careful. The anger returns. I lost three first cousins to suicide. I  still love them and miss them but if I saw one of them magically alive right now I'd break his jaw. After I got done crying.

I've got you in my thoughts, and I wish you well.

"So I will be hitting the snatch hard, I think, tonight." - gzt
[ Parent ]
It's been a rough year... by Metatone (4.00 / 3) #2 Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 06:31:21 AM EST
There's a little network of people, I guess they all connected through me, one way or another through the years, people who've seen a fair bit in life.
We lost one for sure this year, another has dropped off the map, but I still have hope that I can track him down.

Sounds like you did a lot - I know how it will never feel right to say "you did everything you could" because that's never true in the face of such loss. But you did a lot. Sometimes it's beyond us to save someone else, you can ease someone else's burden, but you can't always remove it for them.

After my dad's death by theboz (4.00 / 3) #5 Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 12:51:42 PM EST
It's barely been a month, but I've noticed certain things of him that I have either taken on in my personality or interests, or plan to.  I won't go into detail, but the feeling I've had when people have died that I care about is that somehow I take on something of their personality.  I try to take the positive things that I remember from them, and adapt that to my own life to allow them to live on in some small way.  It hurts, it doesn't feel real, and the fragility of life is such that you can replay what happened in your mind to where if you could go back and do one tiny thing different, your loved one would be alive today.  We can't do that, so all we can do is give our sympathy retroactively and try to focus on the good things that happened in their lives.

Oh, and I know how you feel about the memorial page on Facebook.  I see it as being similar to my dad's funeral in a church.  He was in no way a religious man, but my grandmother is very religious.  As a result, she wanted a funeral at her church (which was good for the grieving family members.)  Still, there was a brief moment of hope when one of my dad's cousins who is in a bluegrass band got up in front to sing, and I swear that the notes he strummed on his guitar were the opening notes to "Happy Happy Joy Joy" from Ren and Stimpy, which my dad was a big fan of.  I was a bit let down to hear that it was a religious song, but I'm sure the thought would have passed through my dad's mind as well.  Anyway, my point in this is that we don't do things to comfort the dead.  We do them for the living.  Dead people frankly don't give a shit, and if they did, they'd probably worry mostly about those left behind.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n

funerals and other memorials by aphrael (4.00 / 4) #6 Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 12:56:45 PM EST
Goddamn. by clock (4.00 / 2) #7 Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 01:46:39 PM EST
I wish you some sense of peace. The questions and the unclear bits and pieces of past and future can make a man crazy. You were a good friend to him.

We're here.

Make way indeed.

I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

Fuck it by kwsNI (4.00 / 1) #8 Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 04:34:57 PM EST
Mental illness, bipolar, alcoholism. All of it.

Maybe we should do beers sometime early next year. Bitch about it all.

This alien goddamned thing... by ammoniacal (4.00 / 2) #9 Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 01:18:44 AM EST
Let it rest in your hand, for the now. Don't grip it. You know what I'm saying. Peace, friend.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Never know what to say in these situations by wiredog (4.00 / 2) #10 Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 10:25:34 AM EST
See quite a bit of it in AA. It's a fairly common thing, actually. The guy who can't tolerate life sober, and can't tolerate it drinking, either. We try to help, but some just can't be helped. Or won't. Can scar your soul if you're not careful.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

One of our friends by blixco (2.00 / 0) #11 Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 12:09:44 PM EST
said something to the effect of, he was drinking to help with the depression, but all it did was leave him defenseless to it. The medicine is poison.
"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin
[ Parent ]
I owe you an email by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #12 Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 12:37:49 PM EST

"Plans aren't check lists, they are loose frameworks for what's going to go wrong." -- technician
How sad. by littlestar (2.00 / 0) #13 Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 06:23:05 PM EST
You sound very grounded, suicide is so difficult to deal with. I hope you are able to make your peace with it, and know you did what you could, sadly not everyone can be saved. Many hugs.

We need to buy you guys dinner... by atreides (4.00 / 1) #14 Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 05:18:30 PM EST
...and perhaps a good stiff drink. And possibly some poutine.

He sails from world to world in a flying tomb, serving gods who eat hope.

Grief. | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback