Sunday, February 28, 2010

'For Bob'

Warning: This is about a suicide, don't feel you have to read it.

Bob put a gun to his head last Saturday and killed himself. I just found out why he had been missing the noon meetings. I sat next to Bob, everyday. Bob was not a big talker. In fact, he rarely shared himself, and when he did, it was disjointed and self-effacing. Everyday, when I came into the meeting, I always made sure I said hello to Bob. Everyday. Bob was alone, I could plainly tell. I am often alone too, but Bob wore his loneliness like a beat up robe. Bob sat at every meeting with his head slightly tilted down. Bob was balding on top, the way it often happens to middle-aged men, nothing one can do to stop it, a gene, a part of being human. Bob wore brown colored tennis shoes, a brown jacket, and plaid shirts. I know this because when my head sometimes tilted down, I could see Bob's shoes. I also know what he wore because you do that sometimes in a meeting, you look at people and you notice things. You notice things. You…notice things. Bob had written a book. He told me about it one day, it was a book on the eventual one world order. It was the only time I'd ever seen Bob the least bit animated. He had spent four years on the book. He self-published the book , it didn’t' sell, and Bob seemed more disappointed in himself than the sales of his book. I never asked the title of the book, I wished I had. Bob wore glasses. They were little square ones that didn't really fit his face quite right. Bob was clearly hurting. Bob is out of his pain now. One final consuming moment of pain, and it was over for Bob. I kept thinking about Bob's final hours. What must have been going through Bob's mind and body? The chair Bob sat in was always in the same place, second row, first chair. Mine is second row second chair. Yesterday, when I went in, Bob was missing from his chair. Bob will be missing from his chair now everyday. I'm grieving Bob this morning at 7:30a. I know Bob's pain. In fact, it could be said that all of us who go to that meeting everyday know Bob's pain. We talk about our pain often, but we also talk about our victories and our hope as well. Bob never talked about his victories or his hope. Bob had lost all sense of it, Bob could not get it back. Bob kept slipping. He would get thirty days, and then would go on a bender, the kind that we all know in the rooms. I've been on a few post thirty-day benders myself, and most of the people in those rooms have. It sometimes takes a long time for people to take a hold of the plan and get it. I never knew Bob's last name. Sometimes, people will say their last name, as if they are proud to reveal it to a group of people who are mostly last nameless. Bob sometimes read, 'How it Works', which all the meetings start with. How it Works. Bob had a very quiet but literate delivery. If you have heard 'How it Works' a thousand times in your life, you know it pretty well, so you sometimes listen to the voice speaking it. From Bob's voice, you couldn't really immediately say there was a quiet desperation there, but like actors, we all sometimes conceal our desperation. Bob was usually early to meetings. I don't know if he had a car or bus, maybe a car, maybe a small ford truck like my father used to drive. I don't know where Bob lived. I wish now that I had. I wish I had asked Bob to get a cup of coffee or lunch. I'm not blaming myself for Bob's demise, I'm just saying that I really should have been a better friend to Bob. I do think, however, that Bob came by this morning to tell me that he is alright now, that he is free from his pain, his suffering, and his desperation. Bob, this cup's for you, this day is for you, this pain is for you, these tears are for you, these prayers are for you, the clock on the wall, ticking away, is for you. Bob, in your honor, I will promise you that I will always follow my intuition and speak to those in 'that quiet desperation'. I will ask the questions that I know will give them some good things to say about themselves. I will always think of you in that meeting, I will sit in your chair. I will not let your death be in vain. I will continue to live, Bob, even though I know that alcoholism kills people. It killed you, Bob, and I am so sorry for your loss. I am so sorry for your pain, I am so sorry that you were one of the ones that couldn't make it work. I know you are someone's father, Bob, someone's brother, someone's son. I hear that often, especially in newspaper stories, but now I get it, Bob, I really do. I will not let you die in that quiet desperation, I will spread the message that you wanted for yourself, I mean it, Bob, I mean it so much right now… Bob, rest your weary body in peace now, but your spirit can come and visit as often as you like. Let me know, I'll make coffee.

Bob—February 20, 2010.

6 comments: said...

Oh one touched Bob deep enough for him to live.
Marie Osborn's adopted son fell from a building in Los Angeles..only 18 years old yesterday. I have heard no details, but I feel bad that a young man jumped or maybe he didn't (that thought just came), but he is still gone.
I hope we can do a better job touching lives around us.

Gerry said...

A few days ago I had committed myself to not holding back in expressing the power I felt I could manifest in my connection to a higher power because ultimately I think we are all individualistic in our connections no matter what church or organization we may be affiliated with, bound by our limitations and empowered by our imaginations, ability to reason, etc. So I think you are right to think that what you might could have done was express more hope to Bob to strengthen him when his own hope faltered and suicidal thinking took over. For everyone is in a different stage of control. By his episodic binge drinking you could tell he was still having trouble stabilizing and that is a very dangerous time when desperation has driven the person to seek help by driving them to the edge. So as you feel more empowered to speak with your tools of expressing yourself well developed, you could possibly help others as vulnerable as Bob to hopelessness. I remember when Darwin Moosman committed suicide I had at least an hour or two of anguish to go through every night for months thinking about what I might have said or done and making resolutions to get stronger in my resolves. That's what I am still doing by reaching out to the world with my thinking. Somewhere out there someone might be in a state of hopeless despair who will read and feel strengthened. That is good enough reason to do it.

vooman's voice said...

This is a very touching story and you wonder how many of his kind are on the edge, just like him. I was sorry I didn't reach out more to John Bryan who took his own life. I think he had health issues and didn't want to end up in a care center. I hope he is at peace. I think the writers life is a tough life because you do have to spend a lot of time alone just to get your writing done. You'll have to inquire if anyone knows the name of his book.
Good luck with your new adventures in Austin. Linda

Chuckh said...

When my sister's father-in-law died, whom I knew casually at holiday family gathers, my sister told me the story of how, on his bed in the last throws of cancer, he sat his two beautiful grand daughters down and told them he was going and that he would miss them. They said they would miss them, too and they all cried. When my sister told me this, I felt it was one of the saddest things I had ever heard. It just got to me. I choked up and cried some into the phone. Later I went to his funeral and the family was in rough shape. He was much loved. A week or so later as I lay asleep in bed, something woke me up, I opened my eyes and felt the most warm loving presence I had ever felt. It touched me physically with the peace and love and then it was gone. It occurred to me that it was him, saying goodbye and letting me know he was so well, so happy and in a good place. I don't know why he would come to me, for I knew him only casually, but somehow I knew it was him. I went back to sleep knowing this. Later I came to realize that I had a few more of these kind of experiences in my life; also, instances of precognition, knowing how an event in the near future would be unfolding because I saw and felt it or dreamed it and it always came true. These events don't occur that often anymore, mostly because I have kind of closed myself off to them. I don't meditate the way I used to, either. Anyway, when you said you thought he had come to you to let you know he was in a better place, this is what I was reminded of. Wonderful writing, Raymond. Why don't you send it into the local paper. I bet they would publish it.

Anonymous said...

Wow very intense. I said a silent prayer for Bob and those who loved him. This entry was disturbing and scary for me. I will continue to reach out, couldn't take the empty chair.


caroline said...

You know, I read what you wrote and I swore you said you'd read from "The Magician's Handbook." I thought, how cool is that? Maybe that's the book for tomorrow?