I originally debated just not talking about this, but I need to get my head wrapped around it, and I do that best when I write things down for other people to read (which explains why I’m a writer, I guess). I then debated being very casual and flip about it, but I’m not there yet. So I’m just going to lay it out straight.
Late Tuesday night, before we all went to bed, I checked my email one last time, and found a message from my mom. My mom and I usually email and call each other every couple of months, and it was about time, so I wasn’t surprised. The last time she got in touch with me she was moving from Las Vegas back to Avon, Ohio, so I decided to read it and see how she’s doing before I called it a night.
In that email she told me that my uncle Tim (whom my mom shared a house with while she lived in Las Vegas) had tried to commit suicide after he had been drinking. It appears that he started drinking heavily as soon as my mom left Las Vegas, and this led to the attempt. He has had regular problems with alcohol abuse while he lived in Nevada, but now he is living in another state with a new roommate and apparently in a better place. Las Vegas had a lot of bad memories for him, so I’m glad he’s somewhere more healthy.
As uncle Tim was getting his life back in order after his attempt, he contacted a family friend in Colorado, where my uncle Mike lives with his wife. It turns out that my uncle Mike succeeded in committing suicide a few weeks prior to Tim’s attempt. Further, said friend did not find out until two weeks later from Mike’s wife. We still don’t know when the funeral was, if uncle Mike was buried or cremated, or anything about what happened or why.
Unfortunately, tragedy like this isn’t unusual in my family. My aunt Carlie tried to commit suicide when she was 15, and as far as we know has since gone to drugs (I remember hearing about her heroin habit when I was in my early 20s). We’re not even sure if she’s alive or dead right now, and haven’t really known for years — she just disappeared one day. So my mom didn’t tell me for a couple of weeks, because she had to get over both the shock and her guilt for “leaving” uncle Tim (even though he suggested and encouraged the move), and really there wasn’t anything I could have done. In her mind, it didn’t make sense for both of us to be emotional wrecks at the same time, and she’s right. If my mom had needed me during that time, she would have contacted me.
Tuesday night, I was pretty flip about it, joking with David and Michelle about how my family is a big bag of Irish crazy. I slept fitfully that night, but woke up thinking it was just another day at work. I got into work, did my podcast (which had a pretty dark tone, but I chalked that up to just being in a morbid mood), and started doing email. I decided to respond to my mom before I got too far into my day.
A few minutes into my email, I suddenly started crying, and couldn’t stop. That’s when I realized that I wasn’t okay at all. I decided that I needed to go home and wrap my head around things. I wrote an email to my managers about the situation and saying I was taking a half-day from work, called Kelley to tell her I was going (which led to me telling her about the situation in the parking lot), and left work.
I want to note that my managers have been extremely supportive of me during this. It’s one more reason that I’m really glad to be working for CCP/White Wolf, and would likely take a bullet for many of my co-workers.
On the way home I stopped for gas, which was right across from a liquor store. I picked up a six pack of Newcastle Ale, drove home, and started drinking. No, the irony did not escape me, but I really just needed to numb the pain, and I’ve never felt any need to do anything morbid while drunk. Plus, Michelle was coming home from class later that afternoon, so if for some reason I suddenly became a fucking idiot, she would be there long before I could arrange it. The rest of the evening was filled with pug comics, Deadpool issues, Turkish food and Wall-E.
Today I’m doing better, but I don’t think I’m good yet, so I took work’s offer of taking as much time as I needed and I’m staying home for one more day. I’m starting to feel guilty for all the work I’ve abandoned, so I expect the guilt will overwhelm my emotional state around tomorrow, and I can spend Friday frantically catching up. I expect next week will be busy for me, so I’ll probably be in full “nose to the grindstone” mode for a while.
I debated whether I would leave comments open for this entry or not, and I’ve decided to, because I expect not allowing comments would just create more drama. However, there are a few things I expect to see from concerned (and less-than-concerned) readers, so let me just cover those now to save everyone the trouble:
* I don’t want sympathy or offers of support. I’m going through a lot of complex emotions at the moment (mad at myself, mad at my uncles, confused, and so on), and right now sympathy feels like pity, and I don’t want pity. Further, I’ve already got a strong support network of friends and family, and they’ve been helping me. The reason why I’m writing this isn’t to gain Internet hugs or condolences — it’s to inform people as to the reasons why I was cryptic and flaky yesterday, and why I’ll be less than my usual self for a while to come.
* Related to that, don’t feel you have to say anything. I don’t buy into the social construct that you should say polite nothings instead of nothing at all. If you don’t know what to say, it’s okay. Don’t say anything. I don’t measure my self-worth in how many comments, Twitters and Facebook comments I get. Seriously.
* Yes, I have considered therapy, and I still am. CCP has a really great package for short-term therapy that I’m considering taking. However, that’s not an easy step for me to take, so I’m still debating it. You don’t need to sell me on the merits of therapy, though, nor do I need someone trying an “intervention” and forcing the issue with me — it’s a decision I need to make on my own.
* Don’t justify the suicides to me. Don’t condemn them, either. Again, right now I’m struggling between my intolerance of suicide as a solution to anything and my love and respect for my uncles. Bluntly, I’m not rational right now, and don’t want to get into debates. See above about not saying anything if you don’t know what to say.
* Odds are pretty good this’ll be my last public statement on the issue. I know me — once I get over this, I’ll be uncomfortable revisiting this experience for a while to come. However, this has clearly impacted me on such a fundamental level that I can’t just say nothing.