Life and Death

I’m going to write right now before the emotion kicks in.
I got a very strange phone call this afternoon. It’s funny, but my mother never calls me. I tell her, you have to call me so I know you’re thinking about me! She says she doesn’t want to bother me, so I always end up calling her. So, whenever I have a call from a 505 area code, something is usually going down in Roswell.
I got a 505 today.
Many of you that know me, know that when I was 19 years old, my biological father committed suicide. He suffered from major depression, along with substance abuse (the little time I spent with him, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was actually bipolar). I guess after a few days of heavy drinking and drug use, he put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. A very traumatic experience in my life to say the least. I was not close to him, had little contact with him, and one of the few times I had with him he verbally and physically abused me. However, he was my father, and I had tried to form a relationship w/him. I actually got a jailhouse apoplogy, and he showed up out of the blue at my high school graduation. That was the last time I saw him alive.
When he died, I suffered so much confusion and devastation. He was not my dad, but he was a part of me. He was a musician, a writer, we looked alike, I had the same egotistical personality. When he died, there was this part of me that I was missing, because I didn’t KNOW him. The saddest thing was that the majority of the few parts I did know, I didn’t like. I never wanted him or needed him to be a daddy to me. I have a dad, the best one I could have asked for, but there was so much more I wanted to get to know. And I think I was pissed because he was so selfish and took that away from me. I was also pissed because I have a little brother. A brother I met at his funeral. A brother who knew him more than I did and would miss him more than I would. And I was pissed off at him for leaving my little brother without a father, or a dad.

I remember the first time I met my father, when I was 16 years old, I also met my uncle, his oldest brother. My uncle seemed everything my own father was not. Yeah, he drank a lot, but he was fun, knew how to be a dad (he had 3 little ones of his own at the time), and he actually seemed happy to see me, happy to have me around, talked to me and asked me about my life. I remember telling him (privately, of course) that I wished he’d been the one that was my dad. It was only after my father died that I found out my father hated his brother, was jealous of him because everyone liked him better, everyone always compared the two and found the younger lacking. And I found out how sad and true it was at his funeral.
Ironic…but the biggest irony, was that the demons that haunted my father also seemed to have gotten the best of my uncle. My uncle had gotten a divorce and had been living with my grandmother in Roswell for the past couple of years. He’d been battling depression and our lovely generational curse of alcoholism.
Flash forward to my 505 call.
My grandmother couldn’t find my uncle yesterday and went looking for him. I guess she went back home after awhile, went outside to throw some rubbish, and found him hanging from the railing of the apartment out back. It wasn’t a gun in the mouth, but this time he left his own mother to find him…

I’m not sure how to feel right now. I don’t think I’ve even processed it yet.

I have battled that demon of depression before–even almost succumbed once, but how does one let the demon prevail when there are children involved? However old or young, I can’t understand it. Part of me knows how deep and hopeless that pit is, but the other part of me is now a parent, and I just find it the most selfish and cowardly thing a parent can do.

I’m sure I will be sad, I’m sure I will feel sorry for my grandmother (she’s a topic for a whole other post, trust me), but for now, I’m just in disbelief.