Especially after seeing the title to this blogpost, you're surely expecting some comments about the Democratic bloodbath otherwise known as Tuesday’s Midterms. But you’re probably up to your ears in political analysis, whereas I can’t imagine you’ve seen anything lately like what you’re about to read.
What follows is taken from an e-mail I received from the wife of a former high school classmate. I will remove all the names and refer to my former classmate as “Friend” and to everyone else based on their relationship to my former classmate. For what it’s worth, the subject of this e-mail is one of the nicest people I’ve ever known. Here goes:
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2010 10:44 PM
Subject: Good bye from [Friend]
Dear friends of [Friend],
On Friday, September 24, [Friend] made a decision to end his life. He specifically asked me to share the message below with all of you (and any other friends).
As you might imagine, I'm feeling a little fragile right now. So, email communications are fine but I'm not ready for phone conversations yet.
I appreciate your prayers and I can feel your loving support. I don't yet know how we will commemorate [Friend], but I'll let you know when plans are set.
Love to us all,
To my wife. Thank you for the gift you’ve been. You have been the absolute highlight of my life. Without you, I would not have made it this far. While I expect my departure will be rough on you in the short term, I hope it opens up space for a new partner who can meet you in the routine activities of the living that have become closed to me over the years. And should the stories of a wonderful place like heaven turn out to be true, I’ll look forward to seeing you there when your time comes.
To [my children]. This brings an end to the role I play in your lives. From here on, you will remember and forget that which you choose. I hope that you will remember my love for you.
To Mum, We’ve both wondered for years who might cross this bridge first. I’d hoped I could outlast you to spare you the pain, but events conspired so the choice about timing became no choice at all.
To my Brothers and everyone else. The answer to the question why is really quite simply that my living had become a hell of pain and nausea and hundred other tortures of my brain and body, some of which I could not describe given months to think on the right words. Each day I awoke to a nightmare that just got worse and worse. Occasionally there were leads, but ultimately whatever is eating away at my brain and wreaking havoc with my mind is something that is not yet understood. I hung in there as long as I could, but ultimately chose to have mercy.
Recent experiences and studies have shown that my body does not have an effective way to regulate cerebro spinal fluid pressure or temperature. For years doctors have tried to pigeon hole me into either high or low temperature even though the evidence indicates that I suffer from both. As yet, there are no conditions characterized by the inability to regulate pressure and temperature in the brain. Not surprising, when doctors see things that don’t fit the buckets in their text books, they tend to dismiss the case rather than question the buckets. In some number of years may be 15 or 25, they will have a handle on the condition that has brought my brain low. And then they may fix it. I have been wrestling with my diminished capacities and mounting distresses for 11 years and simply do not have the stamina to continue.
Some look upon suicide as a sure route to damnation. For that to be true, god would have to be less merciful than myself, which seems unlikely. Others might condemn me for the pain this will cause [my wife] and other’s that love me. All I can say is that their pain has tracked my deterioration all along as they have watched me turn into a wrecked shadow of my normal self, always struggling to reach the next patch of peace to rest upon.
It was simply time for me to go. I, tried to do this in a way that is swift and sure. I apologize to all of you who will be harmed by my passing. If there is some aspect of my gifts during my lifetime that means something to you, I’d invite you to work [with my wife] and bring those pieces to life again whether that be writings on personal growth, hitchhiking, government policy etc. To the extent that people desire, I can live on through the actions of others. At the very least I will rest in the peaceful knowledge that I contributed my all, right up to the end.
Love to you all