In 2011, I went to six weddings. That was three plane tickets, four road trips. Hundreds of dollars in travel. Hundreds of dollars in gifts. Priceless amounts of joy.
Totally worth it.
Still super tiring.
I declared 2012 a wedding-free zone. My friends responded by having seven babies (three of which were honeymoon babies of the previous year’s weddings . . . yeah, we believe that). Again, more trips, more money, and priceless joy.
Totally worth it.
[aside: one friend did squeak a wedding in last year at the tail end of December, but I let it go. I still haven’t gotten a gift.]
I joked about this year. “What’s next? Eight funerals?” I laughed.
My cousin committed suicide January 3rd.
I was joking, God. Don’t you get sarcasm?
I was joking.
I’m not unfamiliar with suicide. I had a year where I was on the brink. I had a close college friend kill herself. I knew about Amanda Todd before I read Amanda Palmer’s post (you should read this post and the subsequent ones).
But this is my family. This is the boy I used to sit in the plastic splash pool with. I went to Disneyland with him. I sat at the kids’ table at holidays with him, completely annoyed because I was the only girl in a group of boys. He teased me. He bothered me. He sided with my brothers against me. He was my cousin.
He grew up. He played drums. He got married. He had three kids. He got a neck tattoo that read “TwinZ,” the T and the Z representing the first letters of his twins’ names. His youngest is still so young, we call him “Minnow.”
He had mental problems. He hallucinated. He got angry. His marriage ended almost as soon as it began. He started using drugs.
I didn’t know this man. This violent, angry man who would fight with my uncle even while my uncle and aunt were supporting him, letting him live with them. The man who would slink sullen around the family gatherings, Heineken in hand.
He cleaned up. He stopped using. He saw his kids. He was sad, depressed. The last time I saw him, was at my grandmother’s 80th birthday. He still had the neck tattoo. He was actually smiling. He bantered with my brothers. He tossed his kids into the air as they squealed with excitement. He hugged me and told me, “I love you, cuz.”
His last interaction with another human was an argument. He yelled. He ran to his room. He hung himself.
My uncle and aunt in the living room thought he was just sleeping off the argument.
What does my family do with this? How do we finish this year that has barely begun? How do we start another year after this? And all the years after that?
My mind races. My heart aches.
I am so very sad. He was doing so well. I didn’t realize he was hurting so much. Why didn’t he come to us? Why didn’t he feel our love?
I am so very stricken. I should have done more. I was his family. I could have reached out better. I could have invited him to stay with us. I could have loved more.
I am so very angry. He’s fucked up my entire week. He is so stinking selfish. I have deadlines I’m missing for this. Dinners I’ve canceled. I have to explain suicide to my eight-year-old son now who is getting bullied in school. I’m not ready for that talk yet. I’m trying not to entertain the associations I have with bullying and suicide. I’m praying my son is still too young to get them.
I am so very guilty. How can I care about my social and work life? How can I be so callous. My cousin is dead.
My cousin is dead.
I don’t know what to feel.
The thing about suicide is that it’s so final.
*the title to this post is from Jenny Lawson’s blog. She is awesome. Read it.*