This past weekend a friend of a friend killed himself. Or I guess I should say allegedly because though the first reports were suicide now the news is saying that they are withholding details until they can reach his family. But I am going to talk about it as a suicide. He was suffering from depression over lost dreams and failed plans from letters he wrote before his death. His health wasn't the greatest anymore and he had already lived an incredibly difficult life. He was a street performer who had bigger dreams on what he wanted to do and they just never worked out.
We knew him through another friend of ours and C was even a guest on his cable access show when he was younger. We saw him over the years at parties at our mutual friend's house as well as downtown where he performed for the commuters for money. His story has been on all three news sites as well as OPB today. People are shocked. People are stunned and saddened that this clown of a man, always smiling, always performing isn't going to be here anymore. And I have to wonder to myself if he even realized how many people he touched in his day to day life? How his death would sadden so many who didn't even know his real name.
And that's the way suicide works. I am not going to say I don't understand it, I do. I wrote about the one time I seriously considered it here. My grandfather killed himself (long before I was born), my sister's first husband's father killed himself. Both of them had serious addiction issues and probably did it by accident. Her second husband suffered from depression and threatened it. You all know I worried about my nephew while he was growing up. The epidemic of young gay men killing themselves might have only recently gotten press but it's not a new issue. Being raised that you were born wrong is a heavy burden and not everyone made it out okay. He did. And as far as I know he never even considered it, for that I am grateful.
I have known friends who have lost family members this way as well. For a variety of reasons. Health issues. Money problems. Depression. The list goes on and on. But I understand that feeling of this isn't going to get better. I know what causes people to feel that suicide is their only option. That they can't see a way out of the mess they are in. But the trick is that it doesn't just make the current problem go away, it makes everything go away. Forever. You are done. And your family and friends are left behind wondering what happened. Why you left them. Trying to pick up pieces of their shattered life and you aren't there to ask why. Why would you do this? What could have ever been so bad that you didn't think I would understand?
It's a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
So today Portland mourns one of it's own. And I hope that where ever he is he is playing his trumpet, entertaining the crowd and understanding how many people he touched and how he will be missed. And today I ask that anyone thinking about this stops and thinks again. No matter how bleak it seems right this second, it will move on. Life changes, make sure you are there to see it through. I know that is sometimes easier said than done. But try. For the people who will be left to pick up the pieces if you don't. Try.