Several years ago my cousin committed suicide. A few weeks later I wrote the following journal entry. It was the only way I could deal, I had to write it out. Maybe this will help somebody out there. If you are or have ever considered suicide, reach out PLEASE! There are options - family, friends, and trained professionals.
It was Sunday night, the 15th of April, and I was with a friend watching a movie. Around 11:30 I get a call from an aunt of mine who lives in Phoenix. Now, my aunt only calls me for holidays and what not.. and it was late, so I knew it had to be important. I stepped out of the movies so I could take the call.
"Hey Eugene, this is your Aunt Alice. I have been trying to get a hold of your mom and dad... Do you know where they are?"
"At this time of night, they are in bed for sure"
"Here, your uncle has something to tell you....."
"What's going on... what happened, is everything alright?" I knew something was up. My grandparents are old, and I thought for sure that this was about them.
"Well, this is it. Your cousin Paul David killed himself today" And I teared up instantly. "Your uncle found him in his bedroom just a little bit ago. I wanted to get a hold of your mom and let her know. Can you tell her, as soon as you can get a hold of her?" My uncle Joe sounded so different; all his pain came through the phone and landed on me. "I have to go now and tell your aunt Linda." Well, my aunt Linda was Paul David's mom. She was down in Phoenix working, but she lived about an hour and half away. "Your uncle Paul doesn't want the police to go and tell her at work. He thinks it would be best if I go and let her know. Once I tell her, I am going to drive her home."
"I'll tell my mom." I wanted to just drop. I haven't had anyone young die in my family before. The last family funeral was for my great grandmother. I stood there still shocked, not sure what to do or think. I told my friend I had to leave the movies, I just wanted to be home and feel safe.
I went home in a bit of a blur. I didn't even say much when I got home, I didn't want to say anything, and I didn't want to cry. I was afraid of letting myself feel anything quite yet.
I went to bed after trying unsuccessfully to get a hold of my mom. I set my alarm for 7, which was when she wakes up for work, so I wanted to get a hold of her before she left. At 645, my aunt Alice called me. She asked if I had spoken to my mom, and I told her I hadn't. Then as we were talking, my mom was calling my aunt. She let me off the phone to speak with my mom. Minutes later my mom called me. I almost didn't answer it, cause I knew she would be crying and it hurts me so bad when my mom has to deal with any sort of pain. If you know me at all, you know how much I love my mom.
"Hey baby.... "And she started crying."I talked to Alice. She told me. I just called to let you know. I have to get ready for work. Call your grandparents... they would love to hear your voice right now. I love you." And that was it. I cried. The pain was such an awkward one. I called my grandparents. They didn't talk much, but told me thanks for calling.
The rest of Monday I can't remember.
Tues came and I found out the funeral would be on Thursday. I called some clients and rescheduled them. Didn't work on Wednesday. My brother and I left Riverside at 4am on Thursday. He drove. I slept. We talked a bit.... about how if the other really ever felt so bad, just to call the other. It was about a 6 1/2 hr drive.
We arrived at my Uncle Paul's house. Him and my aunt Linda were so happy that we made the trip out to see them. There were some cousins there that I hadn't seen for years. We were there for an hour then headed out to the funeral home. Walking through the door was one of the hardest things I have ever done. My cousin was only 17 yrs old, and so many of his high school friends were there. All these young kids having to feel so much pain. I went in and was greeted by so many family members. All my cousins were there ... except one and her husband. Even most of my second cousins were there.
I walked to the front with my mom and dad (they had gotten there on wed night). We looked at my cousin in his coffin. So peaceful, but yet we knew that there was no peace for him. Something was so heavy for him that he could not live anymore. What could cause a 17 hr old to say goodbye forever?
I sat down next to my aunt Linda... she just kept asking the same thing.... WHY?
I had no answers, but does anyone in these types of situations?
Apparently my cousin Paul David was very open about his emotions. He would say when he felt depressed. He would talk. So for him to end his life was just out of place.
This was the first time I saw my grandparents cry. And it hurt so bad.
We left the funeral home to head out to the memorial service. There were over 500 people there, 200 of them were family members. There were supposed to be seats in the front for family, but what they didn't realize was that our family has too many in it. My brother and I stood at the back. It was short. Paul David's two sisters spoke. Some versus were read. Then we headed to the graveside service. About 300 people were there for that. More cousins that I hadn't seen for years. Then we headed back to a local high school where a church put together a dinner for everyone; yes everyone. I ate.. talked to uncles and aunts... cousins... more cousins... more cousins.. more uncles and aunts.....
My mom, dad, brother and I were some of the last to leave. We now had to drive about an hour to my grandparent's house. When we got there we ate some more.
Slept in the next day. About 30 family members made their way over to have breakfast and hang out. This was when I found out that my cousin had left a voicemail to his parents. He said his goodbyes to them and his sisters.
My brother and I stayed till about 2, and then we headed back to California. I slept most of the way home. That was the only way I could deal with it.
Worked on Saturday for a bit... I cried some that night...
I have thought about it off and on... It hurts.
To think that this kid was so troubled to take his life. It really makes me think about those around me... am I there for them? Do I make myself open to help them out?
Well today, April 29th, I thought about my cousin. I called my grandparents. They were thankful for the call. My aunt and uncle have enrolled in a class to help with the grievance. My grandparents asked when I would be out to see them again. I am not sure when I can get back out there. My uncle Paul has been hanging out with some of his brothers. They are all taking turns doing something with him on a daily basis. How long with this go on? How long till things go back to normal… will they go back? Never. Not for any of us. There will always be a gap in our hearts, a wound that won't heal.
Well folks, this is only a small part of how I feel about the situation. I hope that my friends can rely on me when they are feeling so pained that they consider taking their life. Suicide kills one, but hurts many...