Yesterday my mom called me. We had talked a few times already about an engine my dad needs for his snowmobile and were still trying to figure out logistics. I thought that was what she was calling about.
I’ve never been so wrong in my life.
My 27 year old cousin, her sister’s boy, died of depression yesterday afternoon.
Ending his own pain exponentially increased ours.
Us, his 16 cousins left on his mother’s side left to mourn along with our parents, their mother who turns 93 tomorrow, his mother and father. His friends, his coworkers, his admirers…his fans.
Oh you know he had fans…he was that kind of guy. Living the dream.
Except his dream was marred by depression a haunted genetic history that made him decide to never have children, for fear of passing on some mental illness to them.
The boy who loved people and life more than many. The young man who was home wherever he went. The friend who was always available; no matter what the personal cost.
Although I do not know the contents of the note he left, I have a pretty good idea what was going through his head when he made a call to the local police station reporting a suspicious pick-up at an abandoned farm house (leading them to find him, already deceased).
He was tired, and he had had enough. He was saving us…his family and friends…from seeing what he thought was failure. He no longer had the strength to try one more time to make life with mental illness work.
Satan loves this mindset.
As he became sicker, the enemy became louder, and more convincing. Reinforcing the idea that the world wold be better off without his shenanigans, offensive facebook posts, and crude humor.
The enemy was wrong.
We love him for those very things. They made him uniquely him. They gave us the smiles and giggles, and inside jokes that we now must carry on without him. And carry on we will, because that’s all we can do.
In October 2005, I nearly ended my life. I had taken my daughter to school, kissed her goodbye. I dropped my older son (then just 10 months old) off at a friend’s house to play for a couple hours.
I then drove myself out to the hunting shack with my gun, loaded it and got out of my pickup…it was time to end my family’s suffering. It was time to allow them to move on, beyond depression and the medication trial and error rollercoaster. It was to be my gift to them, to give them freedom to be happy.
God didn’t think so.
In my heart, I began to question what my daughter would think…that she wasn’t worth living for. I couldn’t do that to her. I tried to reason with my heart that I was doing this FOR her.
God was louder than the enemy.
I shot my gun at a distant target…went home and promptly drove myself to the hospital for a five day stay.
There have been just three other times in the last 12 years that the thought has crossed my mind. Every time, I tell myself over and over again that God has a plan, God has a plan, God has a plan…
I know my cousin’s suicide was not part of God’s plan…and that free will owns that one.
What I do know, is that God will use this tragedy for His good works.
As that gets all worked out, I’m just sad. I’m broken, I’m drowning in a sorrow like no other. A piece of my heart has died. Although I cannot replace that piece, I can have the courage and the knowledge that the rest of it will strengthen to carry the load. The piece that is missing will always be missing, and it will hurt less over time.
Memories, like phantom limb pain of an amputee, will bring smiles, tears, and inappropriate snickers and the wrong time…in my cousin’s time.
I love you Jes.