It’s a beautiful day. I’m up, ready to walk my dogs. My back hurts, my knees are stiff. Both of these things piss me off. I remind myself that I may be in pain but I am alive. The alternative is rather bleak.
I head out the door toward the Hudson river when I notice something that makes me stop. The riverfront is crawling with police. Whats up? I ask a fellow passerby. “A young woman was found floating in the river” he replied. This makes me mad. Not at him mind you, mad in general.
How unfair. Her life cut short by God knows what. Suicide? Murder? Either way it makes me mad on many levels. If she was murdered I hope whoever caused her demise is caught. If she took her own life; I wonder what could cause her to do it. So lonely, so final, so degrading. I pray for her soul which takes some of the anger away, some, not all.
I question why this strikes such a nerve. Then the memory floodgate opens. It’s because of Charles.
Charles was my best friend. He was the funniest, most intelligent, talented man I have ever known. He was also the unhappiest person I had known. He was gay and it was a struggle for him. It went against his Southern Baptist upbringing. He was also an alcoholic who took his own life.
Charles ate a shotgun on his birthday three years ago. I’m angry at that. I’m mad he didn’t let me in on how bad it really was. I’m perturbed he bought the shotgun after leaving my house on my birthday. We found the receipt for the rifle while looking for a non-existent note. I’m mad that the sporting goods store allowed him to buy a rifle with no waiting period. None of it is right.
I knew Charles was depressed. He had told me he thought about suicide. I got angry. “How dare you put that on me. I don’t want you telling me that” I said. It really made me mad. How selfish of me. I thought he was just overreacting because he was behind on his mortgage. But really suicidal? I chose not to acknowledge that could be so.
I am disappointed in myself, that I was not a better friend, did not invite him over more, answer the phone; even if he was drunk. That I didn’t realize he could really “do” it. I beat myself up over that to this day. He loved me like a sister and I could not save him.
I did tell our friends. I did go by his house to check on him when he did not answer the phone. Was it enough? Could I have done more? Could I have saved him if I had been more in-tune?
Suicide really does piss me off. It it has been an unwanted companion to me throughout my adulthood. Charles is the fourth close friend who has chosen this way out. All men. The Brotherhood of the easy way out.
They went out the way they wanted Charles, Brad, Butch and Ron. They were all just sick and tired of life.
I do not understand suicide. I am grateful for every day of life I have. I can’t imagine a despair so bad that I could pull the trigger or hang myself. It is beyond my comprehension. Death scares me. Does this mean they were braver than me? They sought death, faced it and in the end embraced it.
I realize I may never understand why these friends of mine chose this way out. I am just a woman who tried to be the best friend I could. I am imperfect, selfish in ways and sensitive to a fault. I am a woman who will never forget any of these men. A woman whose day can be flooded with sad memories when an unknown persons life comes to an end in my back yard.