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.