Letting Go of Holding Back

August 8-9, 2001

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What are you going to do now that life has you cornered and bound? I confided in you all these burning details I could never put into words while face to face – in my letter I was able to enlighten you without reservations, but your response disappointed me. Maybe you’re exactly where I’m at. Swallow hard for I’ve heard it only gets more difficult and we still have a long way to go. Do you find yourself thinking about suicide at least once a day like I do? Intense words to just throw on a piece of paper, but where else could I possibly admit this? I think you are aware of that part of myself containing the deepest, sickest, most shameful secret I unwillingly, or naively, inherited as a child. Perhaps you hold the same secret. I know, I’m digging too deep.

8/10/01  The world left behind will continue without missing a beat but there are those of us moving a little slower these days. What about your mother and brother and sister? What about your son and your wife? What about you? What about your life? Tonight I will be staying up late consoling your ex-fiancé and my best friend after hearing about your sudden refusal to live. I think it’s safe to say that everyone is still in shock. I am in disbelief myself, but it is last night’s journal entry that has me questioning the contents of this evening’s tragedy. I was writing to a friend of mine who has become more like a stranger over the past two years, and I was wondering if maybe she is as troubled and unhappy as myself, for I too have become passively distant. Not yet finished, I intended to complete the extent of my complaints the next day, but now I am no longer composing this in her honor. I must have been writing to you, unknowingly, the whole time. I think you and I are a lot alike in a lot of ways, but your recent departure has not left me with much hope. Suicide cannot be the only route to peace. Tying your own noose, placing it around your neck, starting the movie reel leaving yourself two hours to be undiscovered until the reel caught itself on fire is a pretty dedicated way to finalize your breath, but friends and family still speculate your desire to be found before it was too late like so many times in the past. Their wonderings are a way to deal with the pain – I don’t think you wanted to be saved. You and me, we were a lot alike, always chasing happiness and messing it up when found, uncontrollable mood swings, self-hate trips, jealousy, depression, drug use, character hopping, anti-social tendencies, vanity, pride, fear: we should have talked more than we did. I’m sure you can imagine the madness you left behind but perhaps you were starved for the attention. I guess that’s not the point. I am going to focus all my concentration on enjoying life again. I am going to take better care of myself. I am going to be nicer to people. How many times did you repeat those exhausted resolutions to yourself? I am having a difficult time being there for Gwen and realizing how bad of a friend I am. I’m sure you know where I’m coming from. This suicide thing is like a disease and, as I was having my own thoughts about calling it quits before you even acted on yours, I am not able or qualified to console those you left behind or those who wish to follow. It takes all the energy I possess just to keep my spirit alive, and this self-centered use of time just adds to the formulated array of criticism and negativity in which I surround myself. You affected and touched more people in your life than you will ever be aware. How does your family handle something like this? How do I handle the pain of my dearest friend? We are here in Montana away from the realities of our everyday routine lives, but there are some things that even the mountains can’t cure. About two weeks ago Gwen and I jumped out of a plane at 9,000 ft, and for about 8 minutes out of our lives, we were soaring with the eagles. She screamed your name on the way down and I have complete faith that you heard her and watched as she fell further from the sky only to feel the familiarity of earth again. I could hear you laughing, watching with disbelief as the love of your life plummeted towards the ground. You would have been so impressed. If only we could have talked sooner. – for Lyle –

Author: Lindsay Niemann

Writer | Graphic Artist