Life Is A Suicide Mission

Do you ever wonder why people kill themselves? I used to.

Way back in school, when I was first introduced to the concept of suicide, I couldn’t for the life of me understand why someone would do such a thing. I get that your life is currently in a shit place and things are bad, but are they really that bad? Little did I know that in a few years, I’d learn why in a very difficult life lesson.

When I was young, I used to listen to all the grown ups in my family talk, I loved hearing their life stories. One story always stuck with me through the years. I don’t remember his name, but mama knew a man that she described as ‘always happy and funny and cheerful.’ She had a picture of him with my sister Regina when she was young. She told me that he had killed himself. Being so young, I had no idea what that meant or why it made her so sad.

Not long after high school was finally over, life decided to really take a turn for the worst. I’d be willing to go so far as to say that it’s the darkest period of my entire life. First, my mother died a couple months after I graduated after a nearly year long battle with cancer. My birthday and Christmas meant nothing to me that year. Then my friend Wendy’s grandmother died at Christmas. Then my father died the following March. Then his mother died a month later. Then on top of all that, I was forced out of my home by my father’s piece of shit sister since it was now legally hers. So I ended up living with my sister. Those were very dark times.

Did I think about killing myself? You bet, and often. I had nothing really to live for, I was merely existing. I often look back on it all and wonder how I made it. I suppose I never gave up hope that things would get better, and I guess in a way they did. Every time I thought about killing myself, I remembered what I was taught in health class in high school:

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

It pretty much became my mantra for years, said silently to myself when the voice within became too loud. I had friends, sure, but eventually they all turned out to be a bunch of fakes except one (he knows who he is.) In retrospect they weren’t really worth living for, but it was all I had. Life got better. Life GETS better, that’s why I’m still here.

Those times I entertained the thought, I weighed the pros and cons carefully. It would all be over; all the daily misery, the suffering, the anxiety, the sleeplessness, the fun and games, the sex, the music, the voices within, the noises without. Would it hurt my family? Probably, but I didn’t really care if it did or not. The ones that it would hurt the most were the ones that kept me from doing it, I stayed alive not for myself but for them. They are why I’m still here.

Those times I entertained the thought, I thought about how I’d do it. Pills? Not 100% effective. Guns? Too much of a mess. The answer came to me at work one night. I had an accident where I hit my right shin on a metal guard and ended up cutting open a vein. There was blood everywhere; every beat of my heart brought me closer to oblivion as I watched my life force drain from me. All I wanted was to sleep. All I wanted was to lay down and die. I was so tired. This was the way out, this was how I’d go out. I was taken to the ER and sewn up and drugged. I felt fine the rest of the night thanks to the wonders of modern medicine. Now that I had chosen a how, all I needed was a reason. An impetus for my destruction.

The years have passed since that night and while I have the occasional bad day here and there I still don’t have a reason to do it.  I like to think about it the same as this guy:

I don’t fear death and/or suicide. Whenever I get low I look at it as a very far off option if things don’t get better. They always do so I’m not worried about it. For me a quote from Neil Hilborn illustrates it best, “I think a lot about killing myself, not like a point on a map, but rather like a glowing exit sign at a show that’s never been quite bad enough to make me want to leave.”

I see suicide as an option, especially if you’re terminally ill.  An option that not everyone agrees on, but it’s an option nonetheless.  Do I still wonder why people do it?  Yes and no.  Why they do it is still a mystery, a case by case basis, but I think I have an inkling.  They just feel hopeless, like there’s no escape, like this misery is going to be endless.  But I don’t wonder about it as much because I feel I’ve lived through the why.

Life and Death, part 6

Ever text someone at just the worst possible time?

Yesterday, I asked my friend Alex if he’d like to get something for dinner before he went to work.  His response was something I didn’t expect.

I can’t, I have the girls until I have to leave for work because mom had to make an emergency trip to Canada to see aunt Yvette.  She has lung cancer and it has spread to both breasts and other parts of her body.  She’s opting for doctor assisted suicide at the end of the week.

Ouch.  Needless to say, he’s not taking this news well as after that he was more than a little upset at her decision.  Having witnessed firsthand what cancer does to a person, I feel like she is justified in her decision to end her life while she is still in full control of her faculties.  It’s what I would want were I in her place.  It’s what I will demand if I’m ever in that situation.

I still remember the daily living horror of watching my mother wither away while she had cancer.  Initially she was herself, only sick.  But as the last year of her life went on, the pain became unbearable and the sickness slowly eroded her humanity until what I was looking at from day to day was a husk, a shell of a human being, kept alive by drugs and our selfishness, our inability to let her go peacefully.  Had I had any say in the matter and any level of maturity (I was 17 when she died) I think I would have had that talk with my family about letting her go, whether they liked it or not.  I can still remember her last night at home.  I stood there with my father and watched helplessly as she went through her death throes and finally stopped breathing.  This is the personal hell I endure, that I live with from day to day.  Most of the time the flames don’t bother me, but today I feel their wrath.

My knee jerk reaction to Alex’s disdain for her decision to end her life was a simple question:  who would you be keeping her alive for, her or yourself?  It’s a painful question and not one with an easy answer to say the least but I think it’s one that everyone with a sick and dying relative should think about.

Life and Death, part 5

I feel really sad today.  My friend, my Gerrybear, is making a hard choice to have his 20 year old cat put to sleep.  I wish I could be there with him as he goes through this terrible time and I hate that he is going through it alone.  Yesterday when we were video chatting, he mentioned going through it alone and I hated that.  As empty as it is, I offered him my condolences and told him that I’m here for him.  Since I can’t physically be with him I just feel like that sentiment is worth nothing.  I’m also sad that I won’t get the chance to meet Rogue, the cat, in person.  She seemed like such a sweetheart in all the videos Gerry sent me of her.

 

Relationships, part 12

Jeffery,

I’m going to go on. I’m going to go on living to spite you. To spite myself. I’ll never forget what we had. How could I? You have me several firsts. Several intimate moments. Special dirty things that we used to do together. Sorry our ending was what it was, but I feel that’s what you wanted. I will go on living, go on loving, I will go on this journey alone if that’s what I must do, but I will go on regardless. I will go on regardless of the fact that part of me is missing, that I am damaged. Hopefully my next love can see past that and help me put the pieces back together, the way I tried to help you.

Life and Death, part 3

“What is it like to lose someone you love?” he asked.

The Oracle replied:

“It is a long process.  First, your insides are replaced by burning rags wrapped in barbed wire.  As the realization reaches you that your loved one will not return, the whole burning mass begins to burn hotter and rotate inside you, ripping your soul to pieces.

As time passes, as MUCH time passes, the burning shredder spins more slowly and the fire dies down a bit.  Often, you will hear a sound or a word that reminds you of the departed, and the mass spins faster and burns hotter.  Eventually, when there is so much of you ripped away, that the pain becomes familiar, you actually got for MINUTES at a time without feeling it.

Finally, after many years, the rags burn away, and the barbed wire burns away, and you discover what was at the core of it.  A bright, glittering giant diamond made of light.  Dazzling and beautiful.”

“What is that?”

“It is the love you always had for who you will not see again.  It was smoldering at the core the whole time.  It still burns, and spins and hurts terribly, but you would never choose to part with it even if you could.”

“I do not wish to suffer this.” he said.

“Neither did I.” said the Oracle.

m pinheiro – 2002

Life and Death, part 1

I remember sitting on the beat up fold up chair under the funeral home tent the day my mother was buried.  I sat there in the hot August sun in what few dress clothes I owned at Bear Creek cemetery, the sour words of the southern baptist preacher still ringing in my ears as I sat there wondering what to do next.  After people came around and offered me their empty condolences with a smile and a handshake, I finally gathered enough of myself to get up and leave the tent and stand in what little breeze there was.  But of course, my solitude didn’t last as family came to be near me, to pester me with their presence as they often did.  I wanted nothing to do with them.  I wanted to go home and I wanted my mother.

I stood off to the side and watched as the gravediggers and some of my step siblings shoveled the Carolina red clay dirt into the hole that held her casket.  I vividly remember watching my step brother James fill in the hole as quickly as he could and hating him with each shovel load.  We’ve never really gotten along in my entire life, and I’m glad I haven’t seen him since the last family get together I went to.

After that day, it was just my father and I at home.


I remember everything about the day I was born.  I still bear the scars.


Seven months, one semester of college and a new job later, my father died.  I was the first to find out from a police officer who came to my work looking for me.  I still remember his face, strong and stern, clean cut with eyes hidden behind mirror shades.  I could tell it pained him having to be the one to tell me my father was at the hospital, but I thanked him and ran to my manager to tell him I needed to leave.  I remember after being given the news in the reception area of the emergency room struggling to piece it all together.  What was I to do?  What did they expect of me?  Why was this happening to me!?!?  I called my friend Wendy and she picked me up at the hospital to take me home so I could tell the others.  When I saw her in the parking lot coming for the ER door, I ran out to meet her and began to scream as loudly as I could.  I had lost everything that day, I just didn’t know it yet.  We went home and I called his sister, Irene, first.  Being one of his last remaining relatives I thought she’d like to know that her brother was dead.  After a few more calls, we went back to the hospital.  While we were all gathered there, the snake that was his sister had come to the house and went through every single thing of daddy’s in the house.  Once we had completed our talk with the mortician about what to do with the body, we went back home and were greeted by Irene and her greed.  She presented by brother Brad with a stack of papers and proclaimed that my father owed her money.  She didn’t care that he was dead, all she cared about was herself.  Disgusted, I went to my bedroom and closed the door and wondered what to do next.  My job had come to an end that day as well, not that it mattered much.  What came next was an eternity in the dark.  With his death, Irene automatically got his half of the estate, and once that legality was finally over, I was forced out of the only home I had known for 18 years.  I will never forgive that woman for the grief she’s caused in the name of her own greed and self interest, and I hope that if there is a Hell, hers is suitably a miserable one.  Her worthlessness is a topic for another post at another time.  What I meant by an eternity in the dark was, this was when I started sleeping during the day a lot more and staying awake at night.  I remember long nights on the phone with friends who tried to keep me occupied and playing video games until the wee hours of the morning.  Eventually the day of eviction came and I was shipped off to my sister’s house in one fell swoop.  Living with her was a fate worse than death since we never got along as children and we certainly didn’t get along as adults.  But again, another post for another time.

Every day since then, I’ve reflected on what a terrible person I must be for the fates to deal me such a blow.  Often I am told that I’m a good person, but I rarely believe it.  No amount of atonement the rest of my life will free me of this sin.


In the end, they all bowed before me.


A few years, many life changes later, my dear friend Candice passed away due to her own stubbornness.  Diagnosed as diabetic, she kept consuming sweets until it ultimately killed her.  The only mercy was that she died at home with her husband and children in her sleep.  That’s how I’d like to die, in my sleep.  I was in the car with my adopted mother on the way to the funeral home, talking like nothing was wrong.  We pulled in the parking lot and went inside.  As we approached the door, I was invincible.  I was ten feet tall and bullet proof.  Then we opened the doors and all the ghosts from my past were there in disapproving silence.  I looked around the room at them all and we were equally as surprised to see each other I think.  I sat quietly through another bullshit religious sermon from southern baptists, and witnessed the birth of a complete fucking disaster as my dear friend Jason got up in front of the whole room and declared that he was willing to bury the hatchet.  I, on the other hand, was not.  For you see, some of the ghosts in that room disapproved of my sexuality, and Jason’s, but unlike him I had no room for these people in my life anymore.  I didn’t want them in my life either.  I often imagine Jason’s funeral being in the same room with the same ghosts.  I also imagine this is the moment when I finally tell them all off once and for all:  that they were no good, terrible awful excuses for human beings and they didn’t deserve to have him in their lives.  I like to delude myself into thinking that I’m the only good thing in his life, though I know that’s not true.

After the sermon and some words from her father, we went out to the waiting area where I was approached by my ghosts and given hugs and empty apologies.  One even mentioned how I denied her friend request on Facebook to which I curtly replied “people play nice at funerals” and spoke no further.


Came from the gutter, just missed the grave, now looking down the barrel of today


The next one caught all of us by surprise.  Tyler, desperate to find work enlisted in the military and was deployed to Afghanistan.  We never saw him alive again.  The official report was that he was crushed by a hardened hate when it fell off the hinges.  I didn’t dare look at the body at the receiving.  I always hated that part.  I’ll never forget the waxy expressions of my mother or father as they laid there. I prefer to remember people when they were alive.  We gathered that morning at the graveside service.  I had just finished a 12 hour shift the night before and couldn’t sleep knowing what that day held for me.  I sat there in my house, numbly waiting fir the time to come.  I got dressed and ready hours beforehand, already ready to get it over with, already ready to move on.  Goodbyes are always the hardest things, especially when it’s the last goodbye.  This day was the first day I had ever seen my friend William shed a tear or show any sort of negative emotion.  After a speech from his friend Troy, we walked as a group up to where he would be buried up the hill from the receiving room.  Trying to occupy ourselves we talked about him all the way there, remembering all the good times.  Afterward, we went to lunch to eat, which I promptly slept part of the way through out of exhaustion.  I also remember gathering with my family at my house that night and having drinks and thinking about Tyler.  There will always be a bottle of that horrible Aftershock liquor he liked in my cabinet.


Death is not the greatest loss in life…


Once I met a man.  A beautiful, bright, sexy, intelligent man.  I was his possession, his toy, his lover.  He lived in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia.  I could write volumes about him.  About the way he made me feel, the way he looked in the sunlight at Longwood Gardens, his jokes, his laugh.  We had a huge argument shortly before he died and I stopped talking to him.  He sent apologies that I ignored.  I was angry and I was through with his bullshit and his lies.  About a week (maybe two, I don’t remember at this point) after his last apology, I got a message from a friend of his on Facebook.

The first time I went to see him in Philadelphia, I met one of his friends who went out drinking with us.  His name was Joe and this would be the only time I ever met him.  Shortly after this meeting, he took an job in New York City and left Philly, and Jeffery, behind.

Joe was the one that messaged me on Facebook.  He sent me his phone number and asked me to call him.  At first I was angry because I thought that Jeffery had conned him into getting in touch with me because I wouldn’t answer him.  Then after I calmed down, I decided that maybe something was wrong and I gave Joe a call.  He told me that Jeffery had died the day before of a massive heart attack while on his way to work.  I often wonder if I was on his mind at all before he died.  Was he at all sorry for what he did?  For the way he treated me before I stopped talking to him?  When Joe had told me that he was dead, I was devastated.  I hadn’t felt guilt or pain like that since my parents’ passing.  I had managed to get in touch with his cousin, Mary Lou, who was in charge of his funeral and such.  I asked her to let me know when and where the funeral was going to be so I could attend.  She informed me that it was going to be in Laconia, New Hampshire and he would be buried in his family’s cemetery, but it wouldn’t take place until warmer months since Laconia was still a frozen wasteland in February.

The months crawled by and the longer I waited to hear about the funeral, the less I cared about going.  Finally, when the middle of summer came and I still heard nothing after trying to get in touch with Joe or his other friend Owen, I assumed that I just wasn’t going to be told, that I had once again been forgotten.  If I ever find the courage or the desire to go to his gave, I know where he is.


…the greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.


He asked me “when does it stop?” and the vicious, wrathful part of my mind clasped it’s spindly fingers together and whispered “never” though I opted to tell him the gentler answer of “it doesn’t, you just get used to it.”  Ever since Ivey’s death, Jason hasn’t been the same.  He is just beginning a very long journey that I have been on for years, and I don’t know how he’s going to make it.  Candice’s death took him a very long time to deal with and I’m certain he’s not completely over it either.  It’s killing me watching this all unfold from the sidelines and not being able to do anything to help.


It’s a shame you won’t live.  But then again, who does?