Content Warning: Suicide
“there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” –Revelation 8:1
This first part is important. You NEED to have the kids go upstairs and not come down to my study, or outside to the back, until all of what is going to transpire has. This is really important and I do NOT want them seeing this. You already know what I’m talking about, and what you are about to discover. I have more to say, but I understand if you will need to put this down for now. Or for a while.
Call emergency services.
It’s okay for it not to be you to first witness what I’ve done. They can. Call them. And wait with the kids. Hold them tight.
I’ve NOT been in a good place. And I think it’s been obvious. Even if it’s not been overt. I know that you’ve known I haven’t been. For some time now. I’ve felt dead. And today as I write this, I’m already gone. Shadows and remnants are just what’s lingering. The only way I can describe it is that my soul—ME—has already passed, and this husk just exists. I don’t feel like I’m killing myself today. I’m getting back to wherever my soul is.
But I don’t want my last words to be spent focusing on how much I’ve been struggling. Or what I’ve been struggling with. Or why I finally did it.
I’m sorry. I am. But I also don’t want this to be about that. We’ve talked in length about how shallow “I’m sorry” can be. And the truth is, I’ve spent the past couple days weighing the hurt I’m causing with the hurt I overwhelmingly feel personally, and apologies and “sorry’s” just feel hollow and vapid for you to read this, and struggle with everything you’re going to have to face going forward, with me being the cause of it.
So here’s what I have to say.
I believe in you. And the kids. All three of you are strong in your own merits and ways. I’ve come to this action I face before me, because I firmly believe you’re all strong enough to face what happens next. You have got SUCH a strength in you, and for as confident as you are in yourself, we both know that comes with a load of self doubt. Self assured is only one side of the coin. All three of you will weather this. But you, now where you’re at.
You WILL weather this.
Trust your gut. And act on it recklessly. I KNOW you sensed it. You felt it. You could pick up on everything before you left with the kids. You could pick up on everything with me for a while now.
Don’t use this as a means of self loathing. Channel it. Sharpen it. Hone it as the weapon it is. Finally come to trust your gut and your judgment.
And walk in it boldly.
I’m not hurt by who you’ve become or revealed yourself to be. I haven’t been. Maybe my pride has. But not me. And yet, something got lost along the way and you need to find it. Live and love who you are. As confusing as that is and as confusing as you are. It’s not a defect. It’s an existential fact. It’s something others should recognize and value just as much as I have come to. And if they don’t? Then they’re not worth keeping in your circle (yes, this includes family).
Tell Elliot to NEVER stop screaming. I know. It’s something in life that rubbed me the wrong way. Got me flared up. And if I were still around, I’d probably still be trying to work on silencing this expression of hers. But she’s our little dragon.
And her scream is her flame.
It’s…POWERFUL. No one would say otherwise once they’ve experienced it.
She has a fire in her that I’ve only ever wanted to temper and channel. Never quench.
So don’t let anyone or anything quench that fire. Please just try to raise her in such a way where she can feel the freedom to know it’s her power, and know when it’s a time to hold it back, and when it’s a time to let it loose.
Bigby. Ohhhh Bigby. Above you and Elliot, I SO worry about what my suicide will do to Bigby. Our little pack wolf. I don’t know if this is a father thing, but he needs to know I SO look forward to seeing him on the other side. Free from all my struggles. Where I can just hold my boy.
Watch out for him. Because I have the strongest feeling that on appearances and first impressions, he’ll seem like he’s handling all of this. And he’s able to cope. And that appearance can and might just go on for years.
But he won’t be. And it won’t matter how much he comes to even understand himself and maybe even how similar we are, he will still be hurting. And as that pack wolf, he NEEDS that pack. Make sure he gets one that is healthy and good and can bring out the best in him. Not the worst.
I look forward to seeing what he becomes.
I look forward to seeing what both our children become.
I look forward to them, BECOMING who they are, and then greeting them in eternity.
And I know, our beliefs of that differ, but you can at least understand me when I say those things. That I look forward to that unity, that reuniting that I believe will happen no matter what.
I couldn’t do it.
This suicide is me “reaching the unreachable star.”
I have too many scars. Or maybe they’re wounds, not yet scars. I feel too many wounds and I’m just…done with the fight.
I’m just done with the fight.
I’m done fighting.
I’ve talked of community, and the hopes of building that. Maybe this will be an inciting event to orchestrate that creation. I sincerely hope that it will. Call it narcissism, or just a suicidal dying man’s silly last request, last hope.
I believe I will see all of my family, and the infinite families created by my family, in the life to come.
In the meantime, all I can do, and find myself ending with, is the following two commands. They’re not original. But boy do they sum up everything I’ve hoped to convey in my life, and now my death:
Be Excellent To Each Other.
Party On, Dudes!
This was the note I had written and taped to the inside of the garage door, that leads into my house.
It’s been a year since I was almost found hanging dead from my back deck.
Since then, I made a promise never to close off again. Never to mask. Never let myself get that close to the edge.
After that weekend, I burned the note I left behind and haven’t revisited it until earlier this week. It wrecked me rereading it.
To be honest, I’ve been struggling more than I thought I would as this…first “anniversary” has approached.
I’ve written a lot about music.
And I’ve written a lot about pain and about death.
I’m a survivor of gang rape and assault. Of an immune deficiency in my childhood before that. I’ve made suicide attempts before, in my youth. Lived recklessly in an attempt to will the Divine to take my life from me. I’ve cut myself so deep and so often over scars left on me in the assault, that I’ve had to change shirts or wear multiple layers just to hide my bleeding through.
I’ve cried with “the last and the least.” I’ve found myself in that same category, the last and the least. And the one thing that I’ve come to realize through all of it, is that I’d rather fall silent than speak and not be heard. To have my swan song fall on deaf ears is more painful than anything else I can imagine, and the thought of not being listened to when I need it the most, is more painful than anything and everything I’ve survived and endured.
And I’ve found I’m not alone in this.
Death isn’t anything new. Nor is pain. Nor is sickness.
I’m not afraid of those things. I’m not afraid of the end.
I’m scared of singing my dying song and no one listening or caring. I’m scared of working up the courage to cry out, and being ignored. And all too often, that fear drives me to silence. Because I’d rather fall silent, than speak and not be heard.
And I’ve found I’m not alone in this, either.
I’m not afraid of death. I’m afraid of life. So much so that I’d run to the “silence in heaven” than face the cacophony that comes from a life of just trying to be heard.
Or maybe it’s more a cacophony of all the other souls in this world just as afraid of life and of living as I am, but have somehow convinced themselves that it is silence that is scarier. And the world is filled with lost souls, living lives of noisy desperation, believing that their noise is life, because it’s not silence.
When silence is good. Silence causes longing. It causes us to tune our ears and listen.
It’s a call to participate.
And that’s what we all really want, isn’t it?
Death is the same.
If we all just understood death as the silence we all face, that is.
It’s taken me almost this whole year and a WHOLE lot of growth to realize it’s not being heard that I truly want. I don’t want to be listened to. I don’t just want to be heard or seen. I don’t want to be popular or famous. I don’t want to not be interrupted (Mr. Vice President…).
I want life.
I want unity.
And the more I think about it, the more I realize those concepts are one and the same.
I don’t want my song to be listened to.
I want to play OUR song. With you.
(Watch the following clip)
A swan song is a final performance. In the Phaedo, Socrates says that “although swans sing in early life, they do not do so as beautifully as before they die.”
Yes. I DID end my suicide note quoting Bill and Ted.
I believed I could find in death what I couldn’t in life.
And then I lived. And the third film came out. And I could not keep myself from crying at the end. Still can’t. Because it conveys a message that lay at the heart of everything I’ve been saying.
“Dude, I just thought of something:
How is just listening to a song gonna unite the whole world?”
“It’s almost like they’d all have to hear it in order to play it.”
“And so, it wasn’t so much the song that made the difference.
It was everyone playing it together.
And it worked.”
I think DEATH is the song that’s going to unite the whole world. DEATH IS THE MUSIC. And it doesn’t just take facing it. It takes surrendering to the silence (and surrender is a type of death in itself), so that we can HEAR it.
In order to play it.
Let’s long for life so much that when death comes for us all, it’ll be a party.
It’ll be an event.
“I have survived far too much to go quietly.
Let a meteor take me.
Call the thunder for backup.
My death will be grand.
The land will crack.
The sun will eat itself.” – Rupi Kaur (The Sun and Her Flowers)
FACE THE MUSIC WITH ME.
AND LET’S MAKE IT EXCELLENT.
LET’S MAKE IT A PARTY.
->and the world WILL be better for this… (and for YOU in it)
Thanks to all my patrons, parishioners, and anonymous supporters for their encouragement and support in writing and publishing this piece: