Thursday, April 02, 2009

Dark Places

Okay, my friends, I've got to admit something here.

I'm kind of a wreck.

It turns out that our friend who died this past weekend apparently killed himself.

After we had seen on Facebook that he had died, I tried to find out some information about what happened. When so many people you know are pilots, and you hear that someone has died, you always assume that there was an incident.

But we knew that our friend just had his "fini flight" (a celebration of someone's last flight in his/her military aircraft). So my husband was thinking he may have been in Iraq or something.

But no. It turns out that he had just started flying civilian jets. He was doing his dream job.

I couldn't find an obituary or news story anywhere. But we have friends who had been in contact with his wife and were flying down for the funeral. We had funeral home information. Still, no one seemed to know what had happened to him.

"Maybe you should check out his Facebook page," I suggested to my husband. "Of course, if something happened to you, I certainly wouldn't be jumping on your Facebook account first thing, but you never know."

And his wife had posted on his Facebook profile.

She said he had died at home..."self induced"...and posted her home number so people could call and "help" her daughter "who doesn't know yet".

I don't know. It seemed weird to me. What the hell does "self induced" really mean? Yes, it sounds like he had killed himself, but that was just so out of sync with the guy we knew that I had to think I was mistaken.

On Tuesday, his Facebook wall was flooded with, well, mostly words of support for his wife and daughter and words of respect and remembrance for our friend. He was a very well-liked guy. Always was. His daughter is the same age as ours. I don't know his wife at all.

But it certainly didn't seem like a prudent time to start asking questions.

Then early Wednesday morning his wife posted an explanation. She said he had killed himself with rope and used his body to block the door from her. She said he had sent time-delayed text messages. And that his letter to her was lost. There was something about a bird and a shark and her having rescued someone from the train tracks earlier that week.

There has been zero activity there since.

Yes, if my husband were dead, no matter how he had died, I doubt I'd be my most coherent. But I really don't think I'd be on Facebook posting our home number and giving out details. But, we all grieve differently so I won't judge.


It all seems wrong and strange to me.

And I can't get it out of my mind.

Sometimes I am a little obsessive. If something bothers me, I can't let it go. It's not like we were going to miss this person on a daily basis. It was the circumstances that had me rattled.

I knew he had been posting on Facebook regularly in the last few weeks. And it was all just totally normal life stuff. I went scrolling back over the last year on his wall, just looking for...something.

How can a guy who had just been happily speaking at his daughter's career day turn around and inflict that kind of horror on his family the next? I guess he could have been sick or clinically depressed, but it would have been hard for him to fly for the military for all those years and hide it that well.

I guess PTSD is a possibility. But from what we knew of his career, he had never seen combat.

I just don't know.

Even in my very darkest hours when I know without a doubt that my family would have been better off with someone else as their wife and mother, I love them too much to abandon them and fuck up their lives forever. I know he loved his daughter.

No matter what, it puts things in perspective for sure. Tragedy tends to do that.

I mean, seriously. The worst problems I have are that my house is a mess and I need to lose weight. I can't imagine anything being so bad that there wasn't someone I could talk to about it. I can't imagine anything so bad that I would risk having my daughter discover my hanging body.

It makes me want to call all of my friends and say, "Hey! If you ever want to kill yourself, don't. Call me first and tell me that you've reached that place. Okay?"

Tonight, my daughter is playing a bunch of solos in a violin recital celebrating her graduation to the next violin level. Normally, I'd be stressing out about it. But today I just feel thankful that I have these happy children and a solid marriage to a good man.

I feel like celebrating life. I have to stop thinking about suicide and death before it eats away at me.

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