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December 26, 2010

RITE OF PASSAGE - PART SIX - Let's Talk About Suicide

Who hasn't been "touched" by a suicide? We read about it all the time. We're all on suicide watch - watching out for signs and symptoms in others. But what about us?

Maybe you think now is not the time for a blog about suicide. Then again, when would be a good time?

Now's a perfect time.

In 1980 I got a job as a manager at the local ski-resort. We're talking a good sized resort. On the day they were accepting applications I like hundreds of others submitted our apps. I figured a job as life operator, grounds crew would fit in and be something different. Prior to that I'd been a maintenance guy at a college, and then I'd gone free-style, doing handi-man work.

I got the attention of the resort owner... he wanted to see me right away. He asked me to be the custodial manager... I could hire two workers. Wow. I was 26, and it was 1980... that was a great offer. I accepted.

There were some negotiations before I took the job, health insurance, etc... I hired two women, and we got to work. We made a great team. The hours were 11 - 7AM. It was a seasonal job, but I felt good about it, and what's better, I was a good manager - my two employees liked me and we worked very well together.

Christmas 1980. My employee informs me her husband is missing. A few days later he is found - he hung himself from a door knob at a motel. My employee needs some time off. I tell this to the resort owner. "Absolutely not", he says. I give her plenty already. I give her a seasons ski pass, etc...

Alrighty then...

I'm pissed!!! I try again to explain her husband is DEAD! He doesn't care.

That night i give the woman the bad news... time off declined. I also tell them I'll be throwing in my keys in the morning... that I don't believe it's fair what the owner decided, and that he also reneged on our agreed upon benefits package - I said I was sorry I had to leave, couldn't work for someone like that. I said I wouldn't blame you for quitting either - but neither one could afford to quit.

That morning I threw my keys on the owners desk and said "I quit". He said, "you can't". He really did. I told him he was an asshole! Very insensitive bastard! I said, "I can, and I do."

Soon after I moved to Boston, MA. Started a new life for myself... though "manager" wasn't an option - that bridge was burned.

So you may be thinking that's it...


Suicide it one of those topics we don't like to discuss. My father realized I had it in me from an early age - made me promise I wouldn't kill myself. I haven't. Many times because I promised him I wouldn't and even though now he's dead, I still feel the promise holds. Tempting though it may be at times.

There's nothing to be ashamed about or hide when it comes to suicide. There's a good chance that no matter what you share with others won't prevent you from killing yourself if you so decide. It's your life!

I'm haunted by the suicides of several friends. And friends where they tried but failed.

Community college - mid 1970's to 1979.

I used to love sitting in the college cafeteria... I'd get stuff to eat and never knew what new friends I might meet. It was during the time I was an employee.

One day i'm sitting at a table across from another person - I'm eating alone and we're making small talk. The person is a very attractive woman. And it turns out the wife of a guy i grew up with. Small talk turns more serious when she starts talking about how awkward it is in the body she's in. Being human she explains is uncomfortable. A few weeks later she kills herself. Dead.

Another time I'm in the cafeteria and this woman walks up to me and she stops, looks at me and tells me what beautiful blue eyes I have. Her name is Germaine. She has a European look about her. Short hair, leather vest, French. We become friends. During a conversation with her I ask what she is studying? "Nursing", she answers. But there's a catch. She reveals the reason she's in the nursing program is that when she kills herself she wants to make sure she does it right. Six months later she does it right - in the restroom of the General Hospital, with a 38 cal. revolver.

I have three other friends that killed themselves, and two that failed and are still alive and actually happy.

I alone seem to understand the torment these experiences have ingrained in my soul. At least that's how I feel. Alone.

It hurts still. And so much more that I could say.

Come 2011.... you can rest assured that my voice won't be a single voice. See, there's an advantage to having these experiences, and thinking about it yourself... see I think what we are witnessing as a society is a phenomena where people crack because there really isn't anywhere for them to turn, for help.

Myself... expect some serious blogging about the state of affairs in our society. In every case, suicide was not the answer. Murdering others was not the answer!

The answer is so simple...

See you in 2011.

To Be Continued...

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