Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Song of the day: Jumper by Third Eye Blind
Mood: Somber

A year ago I Lost a dear friend to Suicide.

On Friday my teenager came home from school visibly shaken. She said another student had tried to kill himself in the gym. The students need to gather in the Gym to wait for the bus. She said the boy had been a victim of long time bullying. Just prior to the Suicide attempt he was bullied and had books thrown at him. Her best friends brother was standing near her and he saw the boy (who was very good friends with him) and waved. It was at that moment the boy yelled and threw his stuff down and using his own hands pressed his thumbs into his Adam's apple and choked himself until he turned purple and passed out. My daughters friend rushed over and attempted CPR and a teacher came over and relieved him of the stress of doing that. When they boarded the bus the other student had gained conscious. The kids were told that the boy's parents would be called and he would get help.

On Sunday Music Star Mindy Mcready succeeded in killing herself. She had attempted it many times.

I have a zero tolerance for Suicide. I've looked down that barrel so many times and at 41 years old I still lack the ability to comprehend it. Which is why I picked "Jumper". The song is about not understanding suicide. It is also about accepting a person's choice to commit the act. I do not accept a person's choice to take their own life.

My very first exposure to it was with a friend Laurie Davis. I didn't even know what suicide was. She ended up in the hospital a few times. She said she ran from the shadows. She explained that she hurt so bad that she just wanted to die. I knew she was bullied. Hell we all were to some extent. I told her that. She said she just couldn't take it. How did I deal with it? I said deal with it? I was always the new kids. We always moved around. I was bullied a lot. And I just didn't get a shit. My theory was that if the other kids were picking on me they were leaving someone else alone. I tried to protect some kids too. I'd see them picking on a child and I'd get in the way and tell them that I'd seen better bullies in 5th grade (and that was true... I'd grown up on base and then in a haughty beach area). And I had quite a friend base in middle school. It just rolled off of me. Laurie never got that. I wrote this:

Shadow For Laurie Davis 1983

A shadow in the doorway
hear foot prints in the hall
but the room is dark
and your calling me home
but I run
run from the shadows
I run from fear
and every day passed
long and waiting
Hon., I feel you
your blessed pain
How I wish I could help you
But I run
run from the shadows
the walls are closing in
the shadows here to stay
and I leave that door wide open
pity for tear stained eyes
I cant see the day
so, I run
run from the shadows,
I cant feel the fall

I tried to put myself in her shoes. I also wrote from her point of view (she'd given me a folder of notes she wrote, suicide notes, and asked my opinion.) I came up with this:

Pounding Clown 1986

The pounding clown
Do you see the pounding clown
crying in anguish
trying to rejoice
Do you see his tears
gliding down his face
slipping into yet another line
Do you see his bleary eyes
hiding pain
sheltering misery
Do you see his phony smile
a little rough around the edges
almost believable from all the pretending
Do you see the pounding clown
the fool with tear stained eyes
and fading smiles
Do you know the Fool above
the pounding clown
With tear stained eyes
and fading smiles
The clown is me

In high school there was a boy. He went by Porkchop. I don't know his real name. I think I did at one point. But it has escaped me now. He was a friend of mine. He wanted to be called Porkchop. It was not bullying that gave him that name. He killed himself on my birthday over a girl he had a crush on that told him she didn't even like him as a person. In 1986/87 school year they did not do grief counseling. Besides, school was out for winter break when it happened. Would my opinion be different if they had offered us help? I don't think so. I was very angry that he did it. I thought the excuse was lame. He was a fun person to hang out with in the hall. He always laughed. More importantly he always smiled. Even if he was in a rush, he'd offer you a wave (or return one) and a smile. He loved football. We'd sit at the lunch table and talk who did what on our team and local teams playing. We really were not friends, we knew each other. I stopped taking Lunch because my schedule got moved around. That was in 9th grade. I still enjoyed the smile and wave from a boy that took the time to let me sit at his table (no matter how brief the experience was) when I was a new student at a new school.

Fast forward to summer. My friend Ted F that I knew before R-C-S had a best friend named Ted. Ted2's little brother Austin was in my grade. Over summer break their mom died. Before school started Austin committed suicide. I did not have the best relationship with my mom so I really didn't get why he did that. Ted1 told me that Austin and his mom were like pea's in a pod. I still did not get it.

My next experience was near the end of high school or after it ended. It was when my friend HFSIV left our friend NYPITA a suicide note. We drove all over looking for him. We went to all his fav spots. He had ended up at his mom's. His attempt was in the back of her car. He meant business even tho he did not succeed. He cut his veins vertically. I was very angry. When I got done being angry I was sad. When I got done being sad I wrote this:

Another Tear- 1988

Another Tear
Another tear
slides down my face
another step
into emptiness
then I opened my eyes
and saw you were gone
another tear
slides down my face
I had to close my eyes
I couldn’t watch
as you walked away
another tear
slides down my face
will you forget
will you remember
but as for now
it’s not to late
won’t you hesitate
turn back your pace
Another Tear
Slides down my face
So, I escaped high school without a suicidal thought to harm myself. Well I did threaten it once to get my own way, but I really was not serious. I just did not want to do what my mom wanted me to do. She had me committed to CDPC for a 72 hour cooling off period. LOL. Bitch. I explained to them what I did and why I did it. I explained over and over that I honestly was not suicidal. I just wanted my way. I got sneaky after that. I never thought of Suicide for myself again. I just waited until she went to bed and snuck out and did what I wanted.
I really did not get exposed to suicide again until I worked at the prison. That was interesting. They did an evaluation of me and put me on the mental health ward. Thanks asshats. I had to deal with convicted felons on a daily basis trying to kill themselves. One man. I of course can't state his name. He was a "cutter". Cutters will slash themselves in front of you and time your response. Most cutters make superficial cuts. Enough to bleed but not enough to actually bleed out. He pulled that crap in front of me. He came to me with two bloody arms. The other convicts waited and watched. I let him stand there and bleed. After maybe two minutes he asked, "Why aren't you calling for backup?" I told him to go run his arms under cold water and apply pressure. If he died it was one less fuckhead my taxes had to support. And once he got the bleeding under control that he needed to clean up the bloody mess on the floor. I never had a problem from the mental health ward after that. Gee, I wonder why. I did document it. I did report it to my commanding officer. Lawrd, LT had a belly laugh over that one. Convicts made a wide berth when they passed me outside. Hell, I was feared.
A few years ago I moved to Tennessee. We were up in Illinois attending a family medical emergency and my oldest daughter got a phone call and went into a panic. It was her only friends mother and she told my kid that her kid had been kidnapped. Her name was also Laurie. This Laurie did end up killing herself. And there was a lot of fallout and I had to talk to my (at the time) tween about suicide and why people did it. And I was mad at a dead person for putting me in that position. Very mad.
On Feb 22 2012 I learned that my friend Gundy had tied a rope around his neck and jumped from the second floor. Gundy was one of the strongest friends I ever had. He hurt me. I'd never felt pain like I did the day I got that call. I never cried like I did that day. For a week it was an effort to lift my head and do the things I had to get done. I was mad. I was sad. I was numb. I never thought that as an adult one of my oldest and strongest adult friends would do this. I still lack the ability to comprehend what he did. A year later I am still mad. A year later I am still sad. A year later I can't put it to bed. He was almost 16 years older. What could be so bad that an adult ends their life? How could I have been a better friend. I do not blame myself for his death. But I wish he'd called. I wish he wrote me a letter. I wish I knew he was in that much pain. Maybe I could accept that. Everyone I have talked to has said the same thing. The last time they saw him, he was happy. They did not know he was depressed. They did not know he was hurting. They did not know. And that just sucks. I also learned some cool things. Things he did the last few years that made me smile. So, he might have had an issue that none of us knew about BUT he was still having fun.
I write this post for a reason. I want people to know that suicide is very real. It is something that changes a survivors life forever. I can remember details back to my first exposure to it in 1983 like it was yesterday. I can feel the fear and confusion rushing against my frontal lobe and threatening to give me a concussion.
I write this post because I feel there are so many ways to get help. I offered the Suicide Prevention number as the very first thing. Get help if you need it. It does not have to be a friend or a family member that you turn to. Sometimes talking to a perfect stranger is what you need. Share this if you like. Share the phone number. Help others get help. It might just be a matter of putting the number on your social network wall that helps a complete stranger. It might be sharing like I am that gets someone some help. You never know.


Monday, February 18, 2013

a Year in review

Mood... Sad and yet happy
Song of the day, Skid Row, I remember you

It has been a year since Gundy passed. An entire year. It is still very hard to believe. I had a phone call today from his other friend, Ray Smith. Ray really put my mind and heart at ease. There were questions I had and he very patiently answered me. We never met, we only know each other through stories that Gundy told each of us.

So. I learned my beloved friend learned to text. The little shit. I am having a beer. Please excuse my language. I'm still angry with him for the way it went down... him being Gundy. But, yet, I have to smile. He learned to text. The very last conversation I had with him was when I went to NY when Grandma had passed away. He came over one night that I was there and he met my kids and visited with my family, and most important he visited with me. He made it OK that Gram had passed and I was not "home" when it happened. We stayed up late and talked. He left somewhere around 3am. That was the last I saw him. A few months later I called the New Baltimore gas station and he yelled at me. It was something about having a cell phone shoved down his throat. I thought.. he was yelling at me.. What I heard him tell the other person in the booth was, "This is why I don't answer the phone at home, because  people get on it and want to talk." I hung up and never tried to contact him again. I am very thin skinned and do not take rejection well. But his friend, told me that Rich actually took to the cell phone and became an avid texter. I love to text. I'd have loved to wear him out on it.

I also learned that he got to see the new (F**king) Mets stadium. That Ray took him and he thought it was neat. Gundy thought everything was neat. That was his thing. If he really liked it, he called it neat. I choked on tears when Ray said it. He said it like Richard, and I'm not sure if Ray knew how life sometimes mimics art and at that exact moment... they were one. One with the word neat.

I have to recant on my prior post. I'd written it when I was grief stricken. I was talking to Ray and suddenly the night Gundy and I met came to clear focus. Yes it was foggy and it was dark. Scott C and I had broken up and I made a point to leave the hot shops after the pack because I just did not want to be near Scott or our mutual friends. Thin skinned. I'd cut across the NB parking lot and was about to Jump the guardrail and Gundy appeared next to me and spoke. Something like, "I don't like you walking across the parking lot alone." and I missed the guard rail with my hand and went ass over tea kettle over it; ending in a face plant in the parking lot. I then got up and started to run for my car. Gundy in pursuit. "I'm not going to hurt you. I work out here..." and other calming words being howled my way and me running blindly for my car. I unlocked the door and broke the door handle on that Dodge Charger. I turned to face my foe knowing I was dead. And it was then that I recognized who he was. It was then that I felt OK and knew he was the gentle giant that worked in the NB gas booth whenever he could.

Let us talk about the day of damnation. The day that sealed the pact that we were friends and there was nothing that " life the universe and everything - Douglas Adams" that could be done about it. We were across the Hudson at a car show. I'm thinking down around Rhinebeck. It was suppose to be 60' that day and windy. And it wasn't. He showed up at God's hour, or before 11am anyway. I had school the prior day and worked the 3-11 at one job and over night at the fox run. We had agreed to leave about 1pm. He showed up. Picked my ass up and threw me in the pool. Good morning Jenn. Yea, F U too.  Well he didn't quite throw me into the pool because I was fighting him by the time he carried me that far and yelling that if your going to wake me up to show the F up with coffee. So, my head got dunked over the side of the pool a few times with him laughing hysterical. yea.  So I took a quick shower and got dressed. We wore Jeans, T-shirts, and brought our flannels JUST in case. We ate when we got there. Well. Here is what happened. We were there about 30 minutes and clouds rolled in and the wind kicked up. I took his keys and ran to the truck and grabbed our flannels and met back up with him at the vendor area. We pulled on our flannels at the same time. I happened to hit my boob. Let me back up a second. My boob's grew in in middle school. I went from a training bra to a C cup and they were not firm. They were big squishy things. So, I was rather shocked when my arm whacked one and it was firm. I kinda stopped. Squished my boob a few times. By that time he'd turned and was watching me. His story was he was talking to me and walking and I wasn't there. Yea... peep show... lol. Anyway, he yells, "We are in PUBLIC, what in the hell are you doing?" and I leaned over and told him. He casually leans in and squishes my boob. Makes eye contact with me. and very earnestly states, "It feels like a boob to me, let me feel the other..." And squished the other. The other was still very firm because it had not been squished by warm hands a few times. He opened his mouth to say something, looked around, turned beet red, put his arm around me and walked me away mumbling about the people gawking. I looked around and there were like 5 people looking all aghast. Needless to say...he did pick on me forever and a day over that one.

There was baseball. We always promised to catch a subway series (even tho I didn't like either team) together. And he always went without me. I'd get so mad. But the first year we talked of it was the year I worked for the parks and rec in New Baltimore. We had a pilot program at the park out by my parents house. I went and hung out with the kids for 4 hours a day (between work and school and whatever young adult things I did). We scored free tickets for a few AC Yankee games. Daryl Strawberry was down because of his drugs (and what an ass he was) and the up and coming Derrick Jeter was there. Jeter stole my heart. He stopped and went under the yellow tape and knelt down and talked to the kids and signed what they had to offer for signatures. He said he would be a star some day. And he was so very cute. His eyes were soooooo very.... YUM. And then he tanked ME for bringing a car load to watch him play. I went to every AC Yank's game I could get tickets to. YUM YUM. I never met him after that time but I did enjoy going. So, that was what started the Subway series banter with us. Jeter got called up and I wanted to go and see him play with the big boys. Gundy said he'd only go if it was the subway series and he could see his boys play.

Gundy was a very private man about some things. Most things. We did have a tradition. I'm not sure when it started. And all stories prior faded in an instant. And all stories after held no Candle. It was the story when little Smitty got his Make A Wish. I never saw Rich cry. I never heard him speak softly. I never saw the twinkle in his eye like a new day. We were sitting at the dinning room table at my parents. It was my birthday. I'm thinking it was me being bummed about my birthday that started the tradition a few years prior. Anyway. Our tradition was to pick the best story of the year and retell it. Yes. A small speck of positiveness to break up the monotony of asshole relatives. I, didn't know about little Smitty. I pulled out the article (I'd cut it out of the paper and saved it.) and said, this is my fav story of the year. About a little boy I didn't know that had a serious medical condition and he got to meet the NY Yankee's. And that my attitude about the Yankee organization had done a U-turn. He looked at the article and grinned. It was just a little blurb I'd found reading the paper on a midnight shift. There was not much to it. I said, my only wish, would be to know more about it. How the kid felt. It had to have been the best day of his life.

Gundy, his eyes misted. He took off his glasses and wiped his eyes. He then took a generous swig of his beer and got another one. "They showed up with Limos. The limos took little Smitty to NYC..." and the story went on. It felt like I was on the edge of a giant cliff. My heart was in my throat the entire time. Tears came freely. It was the BEST story ever. Then he said he wanted to tell me about little Smitty. And he told me the story of a little boy who was given a few years to live when he was born because of backwards organs. And he passed the few years. And that every year was a gift.

And every day is a gift. That is something in this day and age we really need to remember. You never know when your life will be taken from you. There is no room to be an ass. There is no room to not live each and every day to the fullest. It has taken me many years to understand this lesson.

I was friends with Gundy for 11 years. I left NY in the middle of the night in the middle of a snow storm and really did not look back until Gram died. It was like I suddenly grew up the day I had to go back to NY.

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