Dez, Matt, Jops. It’s hard for me to even type those names without starting to cry. Three people I has so much love for made the same choice, to end their own lives. This article is not about their choices, but about the rift that it leaves in its wake.
What do I say about those that are gone? Why did you leave? Why didn’t you ask for help? What more could I have done. The questions haunt me year after year. As someone who has struggled with severe depression for most of my life, I know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed and lost in the world. Somehow I never gave up. Somehow I just put my head down and kept pushing on. For those that chose to give up, it is the emptiness in the ones they love behind that is so moving to me.
I remember talking to Matt’s father after his death. He was so hurt, so lost. Although Matt was adopted, Mr. Naylor loved him like he was his own son. He just couldn’t believe he was gone. Sitting in the kitchen and talking to him at Dave’s house for several hours I remember the room, the floor, the smell of old kitty litter and stale cigarette smoke. But mostly I remember the space that was there, the empty space in our hearts where Matt used to be. I remember Matt running up walls and doing flips and landing on his feet. I remember him chasing me with a knife and trying to kill me because I interrupted him when he was talking. I remember the love I felt for him that I would forgive him for attacking me with a knife. I would have done anything for Matt, if he had only asked. The choice was already made, and it was his to make. I only wish I could have let him know how much he meant to me before he left.
Dez came to Ithaca from the streets of NYC along with a bunch of other rif-raff. Wilhelm, Muskrat and Armi. Mark and I decided that the scene in Ithaca was pretty lame so we headed to NYC to find some fresh recruits. Our car got stolen in NY and we ended up in a riot with the cops in Tompkins Square Park. NYC was not my kind of insanity. We had a 2 bedroom apartment in Ithaca above the Ritz we affectionately called the ‘vertical trailer park’ and all four of these guys slept on our floor for many, many months before they got their own place. I remember coming home to Scrat out on the fire escape throwing dumpster burgers at passing cars three stories down. I remember the constant frustration and insanity of living with 4 punk rockers in my tiny apartment. Mostly I remembered the fun of it. There was always people hanging out, always stuff to do, always trouble to get into. Dez loved painting miniatures and ended up with most of my Warhammer 40k stuff. He led a pretty troubled life and had a really hard time in his romantic relationships. I never asked about his past, but I knew it was hard. He had a soft heart and a gentle spirit and I trusted him. I remember at his funeral screaming as hard as I could and everyone screaming along with me. It was heartfelt and primal. Having Dez gone from my life just hurt so much.
Jops, I can hardly write at all about Jops. She changed my life so much, I loved her so much. I wanted to heal her so much. In the end I failed. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t make her happy.
In the end, she left.
In the end we all leave, it seems to me that what really matters is how we check out on our way out. Suicide causes so much hurt, so much pain and leaves such a deep rift with those we love. If you are suffering from severe depression and don’t know where to turn, turn somewhere, ask someone you love for help. There is no shame in the asking and giving the opportunity to help you is all that anyone really wants.