The End?

I do not wish to die.  Let’s begin there.  I am very much interested in staying alive.  I am not suicidal.  I am not close to suicidal.  I am an international flight, two bus transfers, a ferry ride and an extended hike from suicidal.  Well, that’s maybe overstating it.  My depression has been fairly pervasive as of late.  So, okay, scratch the extended hike for now.  Either way, no worries friends.  The light at the end of the tunnel, while quite dim recently, is still within my view and I remain very interested in how my story will play out.

It’s an enormous chasm from depression to suicide.  Far larger than most people realize.  Far larger than, I suppose, up until quite recently, I realized.  It would seem for most, and when I say most I am hinging on the theory that most people have never experienced clinical depression, there is the theory that depression is this vast netherworld one slips into where they are immediately prone to all the pitfalls within the region.  Sort of like how many of us have been taught to experience the idea of hell.  That is to say, if, upon mortal expiration, you end up with a ticket south, once you get there, all the consequences overtake you simultaneously.  Everything opens up in a moment.  The eternal hellfire, the shaming damnation, the abject suffering, the endless screams, the demons, pitchforks, three-headed dogs, whatever- you immediately become subject to all of it.  It’s not like when you arrive they tell you, “Settle in.  Over to the left there is the lake of fire.  No guarantee we’ll drop you in there.  Not everyone is submerged.  We”ll let you know more in a month or so.”  No, your ass is burning upon arrival.

And I sense that this is how many people see depression.  They watch someone they love fall into depression and fear that the lack of concentration and the fatigue and the loss of appetite and the insomnia and the anxiety and the fatigue are all essentially innate and will inevitably lead the sufferer to the ultimate symptom- a desire to die.  With this desire then leading to a genuine attempt at self-immolation.

It’s really not this way.  Depression shows up in an endless array of forms and all who are granted the opportunity to explore the grounds are given an entirely unique tour of the facility.

I am four months or so into my first visit and, so far, I don’t like it here at all.  It sucks.  I wouldn’t recommend it.  Not to anyone.  And yet, my referring to the depression as an opportunity in the previous paragraph was not done facetiously.  I absolutely believe in the idea that there are no problems- only opportunities.  I completely adhere to the notion that everything happens for a reason and that we are rarely meant to understand what that reason is.  Even in the worst throes of this illness, I have, on some level, trusted, that there are gifts to be found here.

That’s the nature of my relationship with my higher power.  This, I would guess, is why I am never consulted on the syllabus of my existence.  Because if I was asked for my input, the one element I would never recommend for myself is pain.  Which is pretty fascinating considering I have an endless array of data proving that almost every drop of growth which has occurred in this journey of my humanity has come as a result of that very thing… pain.  So it would seem that pain is not only a normal piece of the human experience, it is a critical piece.  An absolutely necessary one.  Without it, we’d be eternally and irrevocably stuck.  For almost all of us, our lives begin with pain and end with pain.  And all of our learning in between is undercut and thrust forward by pain.  It is the great motivator.  And yet, if God shows up at my doorstep on December 31st, 2011 and said,

“Listen, Michael, I am overrun with work here.  Laying out the yearly prospectus for nearly seven billion folks is a bitch of a job, and this year I am running way behind.  Delegation has never really been my strong suit, but I’m going to take a shot at it in the interest of the greater good.  I’ve selected about a billion and a half folks to design their own game plans for 2012.  Here’s the form.  Be as specific as you can.  Get it back to me by the morning and I’ll plug it into the computer.  Cool?”

I imagine I might well say yes.  And in completing the task at hand, I imagine that I might well include a lottery win, a patch for the ozone layer, a Yankee world series win, homes for the homeless and an album of Tom Waits covers by Bob Dylan.  But I don’t think I would write in pain.  Regardless of my certainty of its necessity, I am equally certain that I would leave it out.  I suspect God, in God’s omniscient way, knows this about me.  I further suspect this is why I am not asked for my opinion.  My reality just goes the way it’s supposed to go and the pain just shows up willy-nilly and I use whatever tools I have at my disposal to move through it and come away with the gifts it inevitably brings.  The depression is the latest pain.  I have no doubts that it is somehow serving me and that the way it is serving me will continue to reveal itself and, eventually, lead me back to a place of serenity and gratitude.

What I am unsure of is whether I will still be around when that time comes.  I repeat, I do not wish to die.  Not yet anyway.  What I mean is that there is no way to know that this depression won’t last for years and grow more and more painful until it is so excruciatingly unbearable that ending my life begins to make a certain amount of sense.  I seriously doubt it.  The trajectory of the depression has actually been going in the opposite direction and between my personal and professional support circles and my higher power, it’s being seriously tended to in a way that I am quite confident will bring be up from beneath its depths.  But you never know.  So I can’t possibly tell you that I would NEVER attempt to commit suicide.

And commit is the word I am sticking with in spite of the fact that my wife has informed me numerous times that the lion’s share of the helper communities now prefer the term “complete suicide.”  Not for me.  Sounds like another PC term we have invented which is meant to be more compassionate and yet ends up reading like very much the opposite.  “Differently abled,” “physically challenged,” “little people,” “sanitation professionals”- as if people’s ignorance and lack of sensitivity were somehow housed in words like “cripple,” “midget” or “garbage man.”  The term “complete” in place of “commit” feels like an attempt at softening something which is incredibly violent.  My daughter “completes” her homework.  My wife “completes” the taxes.  My contractor “completes” the renovation.  No one “completes” suicide.  It’s not a task.  It’s the opposite of a task.  It’s the end of tasks.  It’s takes true commitment.  The most intense level of commitment that could possibly exist.  A commitment to the end of hope.  A commitment that no other doorway exists.  A commitment to finality.  People don’t “complete suicide.”  They commit it.

So anyway, I’m nowhere near that level of commitment.

Though, I found out yesterday, that my family of origin have some doubts about that.

I awoke yesterday morning thinking about my capacity to give and receive love.  I was enjoying my morning coffee and  found myself giving specific thought to my most recent blog post about my mom.  Allow me to be clear about this.  I will not be writing about mom here.  I think I have learned this lesson.  No good comes of my blogging about mom.  Suffices to say, that mom was not at all pleased about the post in question.  And that’s the only point I wish to make about this.  I was utterly dumbfounded by mom’s displeasure.  Really.  I could not have been more surprised.  I genuinely experienced that post as an act of love.  The fact that it was received as unkind, if not antagonistic, blew me away.  And I’m not saying that mom was wrong.  If we are actually going to use a right/wrong lens on this, the data would suggest it is I that is wrong.  Yes, there were a few who read the words as they were intended, but the message I got from the greater majority was something along the lines of, “How did it not occur to you that writing all these personal, painful, details of her past would disturb her?”  To which my answer is, “I do not know.”  My suspicion is that I suffer from some level of social retardation.  At the very least, it got me thinking.

Which brings me back to my morning cup of coffee.  As I sipped at the caffeinated goodness, I wondered to myself, “Am I incapable of showing my family love in a manner which does not generate anger, despondency or worry?”  And then I asked myself, “What would be the simplest way of expressing love for my mom?  How could I express to mom that I love her in a manner so straightforward, so elementary, so transparent- that its warm reception would be all but guaranteed.

So I pulled out my iPhone, brought up moms number and wrote, “I love you.”  Then I pressed send.  Then I though about my struggles with Dad.  I thought about how hard he seems to think I make it sometimes.  So I pulled up dad’s number and wrote, “I love you,” and, again, pressed send.  Then I thought about Sis and, while our relationship is wonderful without being very complicated, I didn’t want to leave Sis out.  So, to Sis too, “I love you.”  And that was that.

Three hours later, I emerged from my Al-Anon meeting to find two texts waiting for me.  One was from Dad and the other from Sis.  They both said, “Please call me now!” The exclamation marks read as potentially urgent so I texted back inquiries about whether everything was alright.  I came to find that over the course of the morning, Mom, Dad and Sis, upon the realization that they had all received identical texts, got into their heads that the “I love yous” were potentially some sort of covert suicide note and that I was in peril.

Now, I am not saying that they are collectively nuts for fantasizing such a thing.  I kind of get it.  They know I have been depressed and, as they tend to read some of my ramblings on this blog, also are aware of a host of the emotional, spiritual and physical relapsing that have accompanied it.  Further, I suppose that sometimes a simple message, especially when penned by someone who rarely communicates simplistically, can feel radical, maybe even ominous; especially when three identical messages show up at just about the same time.  So I can see why they went where they did.  I can see it now.  Initially, my head was spouting something closer to:

“For real?  I love you?  You got your britches in a bunch over I love you?!  Can I not do anything right?!  Is there no way for me to express adoration in a manner which fails to get you people twisted up like a pretzel?!  I GIVE UP!!!!”

So, yeah, that’s the part of me that tends to hear almost any kind of support as criticism.  I let go of that fairly quickly.  And with a few short phone conversations, any confusion had been dispelled and peace returned to the kingdom.  In fact, it was actually the last thing I said to Dad in our conversation which spurred on this particular piece.

I said, “Dad.  I promise, if I choose to off myself I will assuredly leave a far more comprehensive note, okay?”

He seemed to take it with the humor with which it was intended.

And then I began to think.  Is that true?  Would I leave an extensive note?  And what would the note say?  And who would I send it to?  Is there just one note for everyone or are there multiple notes sent to multiple people?  And do all the notes contain the same message?  And how would I do it?  What method am I driven to employ?

These seem like normal questions for any human being, suicidal or not, to ponder and I found myself surprised that, even in the midst of this wickedly depressive episode, I had not asked myself any of these questions.  Ultimately, I suppose it speaks further to the idea that I am not, nor have I been, suicidal.  Still I am a curious person, especially when it comes to the inner workings of my mind and heart.  Plus, it seemed like good fodder a piece.  Top notch grist for the blogging mill, as it were.

So how does Michael commit this dirty deed.

Disclaimer: If my propensity to stroll over to the dark side and investigate my own sadistic and homicidal tendencies has historically caused you distress, I highly recommend that now would be a good time to surf back over to Facebook and check your allotment of goat pellets on Farmville.

So here we go.

As to method, that part is simple.  Pills.  No question.  Why does anyone go in any other direction?  It’s gotta be pills.  Go out in a billowing puff of pharmaceutical serenity.  I really don’t know which pills would be most effective, but I’ve got to assume that four or five dozen or so of anything will get the job done.  As far as that goes, I’m quite sure I have enough Ambien upstairs in my medicine cabinet to bring about the everlasting sleep.  But fuck that.  I want something that brings about a teeth rattling high before doing me in.  Ambien fails in that regard, so online I go.

Most any addict will tell you that one of the great bummers of getting sober are the beverages and chemicals that science invents after you’ve climbed on the proverbial wagon.  For example, I missed out on Tequila flavored beer and Mike’s Hard Lemonade.  Mind you, these missed opportunities aren’t keeping me up nights- I am simply aware of them.  In that vein, My pill of choice has got to be Oxycontin.  It showed up prominently a ways after I came to AA, and it sounds like a lot of fun.

Now, if I’m doing this, I’m going to make a day of it.  This leaves a lot of hours to fill in as all I’ve really got planned is the denouement.  I see that occuring around three in the morning.  Considering that I generally get up around 8am (and I ain’t settin’ any bloody alarms on death day), I’ve got about 19 hours to think through.

Here’s how I see it.

First, it will be a Sunday.  I imagine Lorri taking the girls out for the day, perhaps to her sisters place, and returning home around 8pm.  This way, I can include the girls in the plan but still have the day to do what I want to do.

8am-9am: Coffee and Internet Surfing

I imagine I’ll forgo the Splenda packets and dump a shit load of sugar into the Java.  Don’t really need to worry about calories anymore, right?  As a matter of fact, you are about to find that shitty food will play a prominent role in my final day.

9am-10:30am: Breakfast at McDonald’s

The order will be composed of one order of hotcakes with butter and syrup, one sausage biscuit, one sausage McGriddle, four hash browns and a large orange juice.  I am allotting myself far more time than I probably need.  I eat regular, healthy food far too quickly.  I eat starchy, greasy food like a starved wolverine.  Consequently, even with travel time (I’m not eating at McDonald’s, of course.  It’s coming home with me.  McDonald’s demands isolation), I am probably done in 45 minutes.  With the extra time, perhaps I’ll play a few games of tennis on the Wii.

11:30am-12:30pm: Drive time to U.S. Cellular Field

I’ll be watching The Yankees take on The White Sox.  Interestingly, I just checked the schedule and in terms of a Sunday day game taking place in Chicago with The Yanks, that is going to happen exactly once in the coming season.  So, if you’re up for something extra sinister, turns out I can actually give you my hypothetical expiration date.  June 19, 2011.  That particular game time is currently listed on the schedule as TBD (to be decided)- but almost all Sunday day games have a 1pm start time, so we’ll go with that.  I’ll be stopping at a 7-11 on the way in to grab three packs of Marlboro Reds with no filters.  I’ll listen to XTC’s Oranges and Lemons on the drive.

1pm-4pm: Yankees vs. White Sox

In my fantasy, the pitching match-up will be C.C. Sabathia vs. Mark Buehrle.  I bang out a few beers to get mellow and probably pop a few Oxycontin to top them off.  I will grab a program on the way in with a tiny pencil so that I can keep score.  Over the course of the game, I see myself inhaling a steak sandwich and a large order of fries at South Side Hitmen Grille, two bratwurst at Lollar’s Guard The Plate Restaurant, a plate of nachos at The Triple Play Cafe, a waffle cone at Winning Ugly is Sweet, and a bag of peanuts and a box of cracker jacks in the stands.  The entire game is tight and well played.  As I exit to find my car, my scorecard shows that C.C. went 7 strong innings and left with the game tied.  Rafael Soriano strikes out the side in the eighth, giving way to the great Mariano Rivera who retires the side in the ninth after Derek Jeter drives himself in to put the Yanks in the lead with an inside the park home run.  Final score: Yankees 4 White Sox 3.

4pm-4:30: Drive to time to the west side to score

My eating at this point is probably shut down for the day, and I suppose forever, as it is time for speedballing.  As I would like to be able to stay high the rest of the day, I am thinking 30 vials of crack cocaine and 6 dime bags of heroin.  Considering what I was using at the high point of my addiction and the thirteen plus years that have passed since then, this is, without question, far more than I could possibly need.  But better too much than too little, and, hell, what’s the worst thing that could happen… overdose?

4:30pm-5:30pm: Drive time back to the western suburbs

I’ll snort up a bag of dope and hit the stem a few times before I jump on the highway.  Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs will play loudly all the way back.

5:30pm-8:00pm: Getting very, very high

Crazy high.  Walking the edge of your own sanity high.  Rip snorting, skull shattering, rocketed into an alternate dimension high.  I foresee me sitting Indian style in the oversized plush chair in my office with the lights turned down low.  My goodies spread liberally across the coffee table.  Bags of dope, vials of rock, pack of cigarettes, a few lighters, ash tray, crack stem, bent hanger for scraping the pipe, small straw cut at an angle for scooping the dope, and a large glass of water.

Laptop whispering the soundtrack for the next 180 minutes:

  • The Mountain Goats- We Shall All Be Healed (42:04)
  • Bon Iver- For Emma, Forever Ago (37:19)
  • Joni Mitchell- Blue (35:41)
  • Jackson C. Frank- Blues Run the Game (32:25)
  • Damien Jurado- Saint Bartlett (35:35)

8:00pm-9:30pm: Fun time with the girls

It might seem surprising that I would be available to hang out with my daughters geeked to the gills on lethal narcotics.  This is one of the many conundrums of the junkie.  The ability to play chemistry set and find just the right balance allowing one to simultaneously numb the senses and exist amongst the humans.  Speedballing (the combination of a stimulant and depressant) is especially beneficial in this quest for anesthetic balance as it allows for the subject to avoid getting too jacked up or too doped down.  It’s also an incredibly efficient way to make your heart explode.  Anyway, the plan would be ninety minutes of my favorite activities with the girls.  First we would play games; Old Maid, Go Fish and Uno preferably.  Then I would run them a bubble bath, wash them until they squeak, adorn them in their matching polka dot robes and snuggle between them in my bed.  Then I would fervently read them some of our favorite books.  I think the list would be:

  • Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann
  • Skippy Jon Jones by Judy Schachner
  • Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems
  • Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt
  • Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss

    After reading time, I would get them set up with an episode of Phineas  & Ferb and watch the first few minutes holding them both before heading downstairs to Lorri.

    9:30pm-11:00pm: Last Moments with Lorri

    Lorri and I have a great tradition of snuggling close and watching reruns of our favorite shows.  Sometimes it blows me away that she and I can sit and watch an episode of Frasier that we have both seen at least six times and completely enjoy the experience.  Since we watch almost everything on the DVR, we can watch an episode in about 20 minutes, so I am going to choose two which, of course, I will have done the legwork to get taped in advance.  I am going to go with:

    • The King of Queens Season 3, Episode 6 entitled “Strike Too”

    Original Air Date—6 November 2000
    “It is week two of the IPS strike, and Doug still has not gotten a job. To get back on his feet, his sister Stephanie get him a substitute teacher job at her school. However, it is a high school, and the kids are not so nice. Can Doug survive?”

    • Will & Grace Season 6, Episode 2 entitled “Last Ex to Brooklyn”

    Original Air Date—2 October 2003
    Grace and Leo are having a dinner party to which Grace invites Will, Jack and Karen. And Leo’s just pumped into his ex, Diane, and invited her too. Grace assures Will, Jack and Karen, that there is no drama forthcoming. None whatsoever. Absolutely not. Unless it turns out that Diane is a secret from someone’s past.

    After the completion of our sitcom snuggling, Lorri and I will ascend the stairs to our bedroom and make passionate love for the last time.

    As Lorri basks in the post-orgasmic glow, I will escape to the bathroom and pop one Ambien and one Trazodone.

    I get back into the bed and Lorri finds that perfect spot where my chest meets my armpit and I hold her tightly as we both drift gently off to sleep.

    11:00pm-3:30am: Sleep

    It’s not an exact science with the sleeping pills, but they generally keep me down for 4 to 5 hours, so this is a rough estimate.

    3:30am-Forevermore

    I awaken somewhat cloudy and disoriented but quickly recall what has been occurring and what I have yet to finish.  My head is banging and my stomach is more than a little upset as four hours of sleep has my body screaming for more narcotics.  I lay out a full bag of dope in a single line and inhale it with vigor up my left nostril.  I forgo digging back into the crack as I wish to be as calm as possible as I begin this final march into all eternity.  I walk to the bathroom to take a piss and before I shake off the final droplets, the dope clears my head and warms my skin.  I walk into each of the girls rooms and kneel at their individual bedsides.  I smooth the bangs off their foreheads and kiss them both gently on the lips.  I whisper the words, “I love you,” followed by the words, “I’m sorry.”

    I grab my pills and head back down to the office with a large glass of water, a small dish of vanilla yogurt and a large spoon.  I pin the note I have written for Lorri to the arm of the overstuffed chair and drag the chair right up to the foot of the stairs, that she could not possibly make her way down the next set of stairs and find my body without seeing it first.

    Then I head down to the sub-basement and snuggle up on the futon with remote in hand.

    I have decided that I will end my life watching the film “Dazed & Confused.”

    I though about just listening to music, but I feared that it might focus me in too strongly on the gravity of the moment rendering it impossible to enjoy.  Television was my next thought (I would undoubtedly have decided to go with episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm), but I wished to avoid the hassle of having to start up a new episode once the previous one has concluded.  Obviously, there is no way to know how long it will take for the opiates to take me out or to know what my capacities might be while I am waiting.  So a single continuous 100 minute piece seemed like the most efficient choice.

    As to the particular movie choice, it was a strangely simple one.  If I was to make a “top ten favorite films of all time” list, “Dazed” would not appear.  If I extended the list to 25, it probably would.  This is hardly the point, though.  The majority of my favorite films are rather heavy dramas (Short Cuts, The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, All About Eve) and would really not suit the bill.  A comedy seems far more appropriate.  But not a jokey comedy.  Not a chock full of one liners comedy.  “The Big Lebowski” and “Caddyshack” are classics but, again, not the tone I am seeking.  I need something light and airy.  I need something not dependent on plot structure.  I need something effortlessly entertaining from the first frame to the last.  And most of all, I need something reflective of a simpler time.  “Dazed” fits that bill perfectly.  “Dazed and Confused” is the equivalent of having an elaborate dinner composed exclusively of teeny, fabulous hors d’oeuvres.  The whole meal being just one perfect pop of flavor after another.

    As the opening credits reveal themselves to the tune of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion,” I begin to chop up the pills into a fine powder.  As Pink and Simone discuss potentially meeting up at the “first day back to school” party that evening, I carefully brush the dust of what was, just moments ago, sixty pills, into the small dish of yogurt.  As Pickford and Slater discuss getting together before the party to conduct a drug deal, I am meticulously stirring the powder into the dish of yogurt.  As Tony describes to Mike his dream of fucking a beautiful torso with the head of Abraham Lincoln, I quickly devour the yogurt.  As Don delivers the coaches sobriety pledge to Pink, I begin the wait.  By the time Darla begins screaming “Air Raid!” at the freshman girls, I am unconscious.  And by the time Pickford’s parents shut down the party, I am gone.

    The next morning, after calling my out my name numerous times in vain, Lorri makes her way down to the office.  Before she reaches the bottom of the stairwell, she sees the note.  She opens it curiously and reads.

    My one and only love-

    Please, I beg of you, read this note to its conclusion before taking any other action.  It is my second to last request.

    I have taken my life.  I am not here anymore.  I am not far.  And I am in no more pain.

    My body lies one floor below and my last request- the last thing I will ever ask of you- is that you do not walk down there.

    Call 911 and allow them to come and take what lies downstairs.  It is not me.  It is a shell.  A shell I am done with.  You know this to be true.  Every bit of training you have and every bit of your spirit knows that there is nothing for you in the sub-basement.

    I will keep this short as I do not wish to needlessly detain you from beginning your mourning and assisting the girls in theirs.

    I can’t imagine how you will accomplish such a task, but I do believe that if there is a person in the world who can do so, it is you.

    I don’t have the words to begin to express my sorrow and regret over this burden I have heaped upon you.  It is selfish to an extreme that lives beyond words.  I suppose, ultimately, I believed that the burden of my vacancy could not possibly outdo the burden of my residency.

    I was too much for this world.  Actually, I suppose this world was too much for me.

    As you well know by now, the only dreams I ever had as a boy regarding the future, were dreams of being a husband and a father.  The very best husband and father.

    And in the very wildest, most absurdist versions of those dreams, the woman and children I fantasized were not one millionth of one percent as remarkable as you and Ryan and Sydney.

    Every single dream I ever had for myself was eclipsed by our wedding day in 1999- and eclipsed again by the birth of our little Lynski in 2003- and eclipsed again by the emergence of the force of nature that is our J.J. in 2006.  And from there…?

    I guess from there came the inevitable decline.  It was too much for me.  You, all of you, were too much for me.

    Too much goodness.  Too much splendor.  Too much light.

    I never did live in the light.  You know this.  I was destined for darkness.  My reality was always found in the wee hours.  In the cold corners.  I suppose, in the end, I just ran out of places to hide.

    Please take care of my babies.  Help them understand.  Tell them I will always be with them; beside them; inside them.

    You were the greatest gift of all, my bride.  Not just the greatest gift I was given.  The greatest gift there is.  A gift I was never worthy of- but a gift I will cherish until there is no more time.  I always said that you were my angel.  That was never meant as a metaphor.  I always believed that you were- that you are- an actual angel.  Accordingly, I don’t believe your work is done here.

    I believe you are destined to save lives and change the world.  You already have accomplished this to an extent, but the heights you will now soar to are beyond your current vision.  This is know.

    When you reach those inevitable heights, I pray that you’ll look back with less anger and torment than you must have just now, and remember one of your earlier projects.

    Perhaps not your most important one.  But one to whom you provided a love unlike any other mortal has ever known.  I only wish my little heart had more room to contain it.

    Remember what we’ve shared.

    Save a little room for me and I’ll find my in.

    I’ll always be with you.

    I love you.

    I miss you already.

    Michael

    Wow.  I can’t believe how powerful that was.  Was it powerful for you as well?  To read it, I mean.  Jesus!  I’m caught somewhere between  horribly disturbed and abundantly grateful.  I must tell you, friends; writing your own ending and then stepping back to a story that promises to continue, barring a catastrophe, for quite a while longer, is a hell of a thing.

    I suppose I’ve never spent a whole lot of time thinking about my own mortality.  I’ve never really been scared of dying.  Quite frankly, up until the late 90’s, I never believed I had much of a chance of making it past thirty.  And yet, here I am on the eve of forty with, as earlier stated, more riches than I ever thought someone like me could possibly amass.  And, in spite of my mock suicide note, most days I actually believe that I am worthy of it.

    I think that what was really so enlightening was the fact that what began as a simple curiosity-  what I imagined as a sort of fun (albeit morbid) exercise- turned out to be something altogether different.  Something entirely unexpected.  It turned out to be frightening.

    As I continued to write, the project slowly began to take me places I had no intention of wandering toward.  It became something of an out-of-body experience.  Right up until The Yankee game, the whole piece was feeling sort of blackly frivolous.  And then it wasn’t.  As I wrote about myself playing with my daughters, high, knowing what was coming, and watching their innocent, naive faces lovingly engage someone they believed would always be a part of their lives… it became sort of terrifying.  It was almost as if I was up above myself watching my fingers type away on the keyboard unable to stop what I had originally thought was a farce.  As if by writing it, I was dooming it to occur.

    Right around the time I was writing about putting the girls to bed and coming downstairs to join Lorri, I was feeling completely overwhelmed by the piece and decided to walk away and take a break.  I sat down at the counter and joined Lorri for a cup of coffee and told her about what I had been writing and where I had come to in the piece.  Working in hospice for all these years, my wife’s pinky toe knows more about death and dying than I could ever hope to know.  So, while she was a bit taken aback by what I was doing, she understood the potentially cathartic nature of such an undertaking.  I told her that I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back and finish it.  She said that maybe I didn’t need to.  I said that somehow it felt important to do so.  She said she was not sure she would want to read it.  I said that I understood.

    Funny thing.  I began thinking about the composition of this piece early this morning.  I began writing it around noon.  I gave Ryan some lunch and we played Go Fish and then I wrote some more.  We colored oversized pictures of the superfriends and then I wrote a bit more.  I went and took the Watson-Glazer exam in advance of starting my Masters Degree in a few months and then I continued writing.  I stopped off to pick up Lorri and the girls from The Brownie troop meeting where she was subbing for me so I could take my test, and then we came home and I wrote.  It is 12:10 AM and I as I prepare to write these last few words and sign off the computer I am aware of a single, powerful piece of data.

    I have felt less depression today than I have on any day in the last four months.

    Huh.

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    1. #1 by DK on February 25, 2011 - 4:55 pm

      And I’m struck by one overwhelming thought….
      Thoughts are thoughts and out rmotiond, while they feel like everything in the moment, do not make us. You feltt the feelings and then you let them go. By writing them you seem to let them go. I used to think that feeling the feelings was the work. But its only part of it. The other part is letting them go. Facing the wave but knowing that it has passed you by. There may be another one coming, but you made it through that last one & it is gone. Never to return that exact same wave. The other part ofthe workis knowing when & how to refocus & move forward. So tricky as it is different for everyone.

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