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on the hangings

As a cry for help:

I don’t remember his name but he was in his mid-30’s. A few of our mutual friends were gathered in his front yard and drinking beer (I was 15).

One second he was laughing with us and the next he was crying.  He went inside to get a rope.  He came out and climbed the tree in his front yard to tie the rope around the tallest branch.

As we all watched, he tied the rope around his neck and stepped off the branch.  Hanged.

It is hard to believe, but all we did was stare.  Five of us.  Not one moving.  All drunk and dazed.  A neighbor looked out and saw him hanging and ran over to get him down.  He did not die.

I would not drink socially for another five years and I would never drink to ‘drunk’ again.

As a cry for death:

He was my mom’s boyfriend.  This meant he was a drug-addict, alcoholic and in my mind, likely a molester in waiting. So, I treated him like the horrible person I assumed he was.

Looking back, realize he was pretty docile.  My mom was loud and overbearing and he was quiet and withdrawn.

I don’t remember what I said to him one morning when I left to school.  It was in response to him asking me to do something.  All I remember is that I was nasty in my reply.  Those would be my last words to him.

He walked out on my mom and no one heard from him for several days until the police found my mother to tell her he had been found hanged and to ask her to id his body.  He had committed suicide.

I would forever work to be purposeful in not leaving people with words that might cause pain, regardless of the message to be imparted.

I haven’t found a loving substitute for “f*&k you” yet, but I’m working on it…

What am I grateful for?

  • Understanding that a smile should never be translated as happiness, unless it’s coming from a child.
  • Understanding that the desire for death can be hidden behind the baseline normalcy of a personality.
  • Understanding we all wear masks and striving to see and speak to the people underneath, cause they are much more beautiful than what they think they must present to the world, myself included.


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