Tag: Suicide

Dead son dreams of calling his father

What do you expect, being born on Friday the 13th? That was my fate without me knowing it and the madness that followed, followed the madness that followed the madness.

The shrinks had their own name for it but I called it a babbling hell of diabolical voices. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. They put me on Chlorpromazine and a bunch of other mindbuckers, but I had the last laugh. I took enough Amobarbital and Secobarbital to kill myself three times over.

The first time hadn’t worked and I wanted to be sure the next time. I was “determined that there should be as little imprecision as possible,” as my dad’s favorite writer William Saroyan wrote in ‘The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze.’

I hated doing it to my crazy father, and I wondered as I spun off into oblivion what would happen to him. I didn’t know if my death would do him in or not, but I suspected he would survive. He told me when he visited me in Ward 3C after my first suicide attempt, “I hope you don’t try this again, Will, because I don’t know if I can survive another one — and I’m into survival.”

My sparse response at the time was, “It’s good that you know about yourself.”

After some rocky years when I was a kid when my dad and my mother got divorced, we had a pretty good relationship at the end. Eccentric was the shrink’s word for it. Fragile was another. But despite our past differences and difficulties, we made contact on several occasions in the last couple of years. Times when we really understood one another and wrote many letters back and forth signed with the big L.

I kept all of the letters he wrote to me, and now he has them again, and I know he kept mine, although I don’t know if he can bring himself to read them. He’s a very emotional guy.

There were many times when we would drive each other crazy, but finally, now, in retrospect, I loved him and I know he loved me.

My suicide was a shock to all concerned, even though I tried it once before when I was diagnosed with this goddamned mental illness. 

At the end I gave everyone a false sense of security, to throw them off the track, to prevent them from stopping me. I had just one thought and that was to take those barbiturates I had bought on the street with my last hundred bucks and to get the hell out of this world. I was on “the wrong earth,” to quote Saroyan again.

You know what I’d love to do? I’d love to be able to tap into the Internet or into the phone lines or whatever and call my dad. As in life, I’d have to make it a collect call.

I know it can’t be done, but man, I’d love to do that. I’d tell him I’m sorry for hurting him by killing myself but I could see no other way to escape the voices, and I’d tell him that I’m at peace now and that I’ll love him through all eternity.

Even if I could figure out a way to do that, I couldn’t really do it. I mean, when he picked up the phone and heard my voice, he’d think he had gone mad. Who wouldn’t in a similar situation?


 

‘A Trapeze to God or to Some Sort of Eternity.’

The young poet filled a paper cup with water in his room at the end of the corridor of the halfway house. He locked the door. It was Friday, October 28, one o’clock in the afternoon.

He swallowed several capsules of two powerful barbiturates, secobarbital and amobarbital, enough to kill himself three times over.

He stepped into the closet and placed a blue blanket on the floor. He closed the closet door and lay down on his right side, making himself as comfortable as possible on the blanket, his right hand under his head. In his left hand he held a small stuffed panda bear.

He closed his eyes and let the drugs do their stuff. 

He went spinning off into oblivion.

His body was discovered the next day, Saturday. 

On top of the chest of drawers were several poems he had written throughout his teenage years, one containing the line, ‘The only way anyone ever died was alone.’

With the poems was an essay he had written earlier that week entitled, ‘The Supernatural — Does it Exist?’  

There was one other thing on top of the chest of drawers — a copy of a short story collection by William Saroyan titled ‘The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze.’ 

The book was face down, open near the end of the first story: 

‘He accepted the thought of dying without pity for himself… Through the air on the flying trapeze, his mind hummed. Amusing it was, astoundingly funny. A trapeze to God, or to nothing, a flying trapeze to some sort of eternity; he prayed for strength to make the flight with grace.’

The coroner put the time death at three o’clock on Friday afternoon. The young poet was nineteen.


The Supernatural: Does It Exist?

Does the supernatural exist? To begin with, the word supernatural suggests a concept that is basically unsound: the idea that anything which we perceive could be more or less than “natural”: that anything in existence could be other than natural is obviously a pointless proposition. What we term natural is nothing but the whole of existence: the only context for anything that manifests itself, through whatever set of dynamics.

We are natural beings and anything that our senses perceive or that our feelings and thinking can relate itself to can only be also natural. It is an old and common mistake to blame our own inability to supply an explanation for something on some imagined area of reality where that explanation is withheld and something exists only “in itself.” Such a vacuum of unreality has nothing to do with a rational perspective.

There is no “other side” to reality but madness or nothingness. There is also an almost limitless amount of the human experience that remains unexplained and unresolved. What some call the supernatural shouldn’t be allowed to suggest to us “another reality” colliding with “our own.” The so-called supernatural should only remind us of how much we still have left to discover about the internal dynamic and the rational meaning of all things.


Okay, God, Now What?

A DIABOLICAL STORY

I was hauled before Devil’s Court on a charge of Attempted Christianity in the Second Degree.

For the past nine months I had been hopelessly depressed and suicidal since the death of my wife Susan. And then last week I got a phone call out of the blue from a woman my wife worked with thirty years ago in Miami Beach. She had read about Susan’s death and wanted to reach out to me.

Susan and I used to hang out with her, getting drunk and smoking dope and watching Miami Vice on TV. Ah, Miami Beach in the 1980s — what a magical time.

Susan’s friend wasn’t then, but she is now, a woman of deep faith and firm belief in God.

That 70-minute conversation we had after all those years had a profound effect on me.

My words and possibly my actions in the following days did not escape the scrutiny of the Devil’s secret agents on earth.

When they took me into Court, my attorney put forward, against my will I must add, the following defense:

“Your Devilship, if I may, the charge against my client is all the fault of a Christian by the name of—” he looked down at his notes— “a certain Renata de Dios.”

“Who the hell is Renata de Dios?” boomed the horned freak.

“A woman that the defendant, through his wife, knew in Miami Beach thirty years ago. She read about the defendant’s wife’s death and contacted him unexpectedly and began putting all these crazy ideas in his head.”

“Yes, well, we will investigate her as an accessory before the fact, but the only fact we’re concerned with here is that the accused actually entertained thoughts of life after death and god and heaven and all the rest of it — and I use the word entertained advisedly because that’s what it is, sheer fantasy, a mere entertainment for the masses.”

“My client realizes that, Your Devilship, and it goes against everything he has believed in, namely Nothingness and Oblivion after death, not to mention that it goes against his knowledge of science and logic.”

“Indeed,” said His Devilship. “So, are you saying that your client can still be saved from this Christian nonsense.”

“I am, Your Devilship, if you give him another chance, I assure you and this Court that he will go back to believing in Nothing and that a black void of Oblivion awaits us at the end of life.”

At this point His Devilship turned toward the Prosecutor and said: “Taking into account that we need all the non-believers we can muster on earth, I find myself sufficiently swayed by your adversary’s argument that the accused has seen the madness of his recent wayward thoughts and has sufficiently relented to please this Court. I thereby order him released.”

But the Prosecutor couldn’t let it go without suggesting strongly to the Court one proviso: That the defendant cease and desist from any further contact with the instigator mentioned in the complaint.

His Devilship agreed. “So ordered,” he said.

Whereupon the bailiff set me free. My first impulse when I got home was to call Renata, but I dared not. I was sure my phone was tapped and the last thing I wanted was to ensnare her any further in the Devil’s trap.

It didn’t take long for the depression and hopelessness I had felt since my wife’s death to once again overwhelm my mind and destroy any last hope I had allowed myself to have. Despair began crushing my soul. The only solution, once again, was suicide. I decided, finally, to hell with it.

I took the 9-millimeter Glock out of the desk drawer in the study and went into the bedroom. I lay down on the bed, put a pillow behind my head to lessen the mess and leveled the barrel—

The sudden ringing of the phone was a jarring sound.

I lowered the gun and picked up the phone. I didn’t say anything.

The voice said: “Hello? Billy Boy? This is Renata.”