Note: This post mentions suicide – I don’t know the proper protocol for this… but I believe I’m supposed to warn of topics of this nature so readers can stop now should they so choose.
When I was 15 years old, my 16-year-old cousin shot himself in his parents’ basement. Was it intentional or accidental? We will never know. He left no trace of explanation behind. No note.
I have mixed feelings about guns. Well, maybe not so mixed. (Please, this is my opinion. I don’t want a debate.) How can I not wonder what would have been if my cousin had no access to a gun? [It was his father’s… for hunting.] And why the fuck wasn’t it locked up? If it was an accident, he might still be here. If it wasn’t an accident, he might still be here. If he was determined to take his own life, he might have found another way. Or maybe he wouldn’t have.
When he died, his closest-in-age brother was 15, just like me. B found his brother. I have never been able to fathom the impact that moment had on B. I cannot imagine I ever would have recovered. Yet he did. But when he was 19, B was killed in a car accident. When I say car accident, I mean to say, we assume it was an accident. Could it have been intentional? We will never know.
These events happened a long time ago. I don’t think I’ll ever use the words “over it” but when I think of it now, it’s more of a reflection… my tendency to overthink everything – past, present and future. And when I feel my worst, I wonder if it’s how they felt – either of them – because I have never considered myself a strong person…yet I am still here… and they are not.
PLEASE – If you ever feel low enough to leave this world, tell someone. Anyone. Please.
These two brothers had a third. J is one year younger than B and I. He is one of the most incredibly well-adjusted people I’ve ever met in my life. He amazes me. I don’t know how he does it. God, he lost a brother when he was 14… and another when he was 18. I’m not sure how you live with that… but he has.
About three years ago, J was diagnosed with brain cancer. He has had multiple surgeries… the most recent of which was two weeks ago. They removed what they could, but they couldn’t get it all. It is aggressive… it keeps coming back… spreading. And there is nothing more they can do for him. He may have days or weeks or… maybe months… but as far as I know ‘months’ is unlikely.
I saw him yesterday at Thanksgiving at my mom’s. He looked great! Handsome and smiley as ever. If I didn’t know what was going on, I’d never guess that he was anything but healthy. And he looked happy. I don’t know how he does it. He is amazing. And sweet and kind and generous. With hugs hello and hugs goodbye, I kept it together. But when he and his girlfriend left, I kind of lost it. I think it was the words he spoke when he hugged me goodbye…
“See you at Christmas, hopefully…”