Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Story of Dealing with Suicide.

This week (although it is close to an end) is Suicide Prevention Week.

My dear Uncle Matt commited suicide on May 12, 2010

As grim as it is, I do believe I will write my experience with Suicide. So that maybe someone will see it and not feel so alone, and know that no matter what they feel, see, or experience they too will get through it. I apologize in advance if this upsets some.

Graduation. Sweet Sweet Graduation. That is all that Is on my mind as I sit through another Theatre class impatiently waiting for that golden bell to ring, signaling one day closer to the finish line. My friends and I all crack jokes at the silly underclassman, at our teacher, at everything. My teacher gets a phone call that sends her into her locked office, after moments of "Are you sure?" "Are you positive that's how it happened?" heard through the door, she emerges, sobbing. She states that a close family friend has been shot, and was found dead in his backyard. I comfort her half-heartedly. Moments before the bell rings me and two other friends sneak out the door and head to our cars, absentmindedly chatting on the dramatics that were just displayed. I jokingly comment that shes probably lying, but if it did happen "I feel very sorry for the family"
I buzz home and hop onto Facebook. I start creeping on my older Cousin and see the post "KAT CALL MOM RIGHT NOW" from My Uncles best friend. To which she replied something along the lines of "I tried to call Matt but he wont pick up, mom either"

My stomach dropped. Something just wasn't right. I had to go work the Clavinova for a show down at the Theatre that night so I hopped in the car, thinking of everything I had heard. I got incredibly overwhelmed with grief and called my mom.

-(Sobbing) Mom somethings wrong, somethings not right. I think Uncle Matt Died. I dont' have proof bjust all these things are starting to fit together and worry me, call Aunt Susan. Call Grandpa. Call someone. Please.

Mom- "What? What are you talking about? Calm down. Who died?"

-(hysterical) I DONT KNOW IF ANYONE DIED. I just have this really horrible feeling about Uncle Matt. Please call. And call me back and let me know what is going on. Something is wrong.

Mom- "Okay. I will. Hold on. I love you, I'll talk to you in a few"

- MOM you HAVE to promise me you will actually call me and tell me. Don't worry that I have a show tonight. I would rather know than drive myself crazy wondering. Please promise me you will actually call me. Please. You have to actually call me either way this goes. Please. Promise me mom PROMISE ME.

Mom- "Okay i will Nikki. Let me get off the phone so I can start figuring all this out. I love you, Talk to you soon"

I panicked myself down 16th street. Down Green Avenue. Down every street until I parked on the gravel side of the Orange Community Playhouse. I stayed in the car freaking out until I hear a tiny tap on my window. My friend Bridget, asking whats wrong. I hop out of the car and fall directly into her arms, trying to keep it together and rambling incoheriently about how I think my uncle died. She assures me everything is going to be okay and for a moment I believe her. I want to believe her so very badly. My phone rings. Mom.


Mom-(sniffles) It's true. Uncle matt was found shot in his pool.


Mom-They haven't determined yet if it was self inflicted or homicide. Things are leaning toward self inflicted.

-NO THAT ISN'T POSSIBLE. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. WHO WOULD HAVE KILLED UNCLE MATT? EVERYONE LOVED HIM SO MUCH? HE DIdnt have any enemys...did he? who would have done this to him? (sobbing)

Mom- We don't know anything for sure right now. All I know is he was found in the pool, shot.

-NO. i have to let you go.

And i fell apart. The few people there see me and hug me. I want no part of it. I ask for some time alone. In the moments that follow all I can think about is how Uncle Matt felt in the last moments of his life? What happened? Did someone come over to rob them, then got in a fight with him then shot him? I imagined his hands up in surrender trying to make the stranger calm down and put the gun down.

The other option isn't even possible. He is too happy, too loved, too amazing, too funny. is...was... I don't want to wrap my head around the new change.

I escape to the pit, where the clavinova lies. The show must go on. I don't remember really anything about it. I stare at the bronze bunny on my ring. Everytime I feel like crying or just giving up I look down at it and focus on keeping it together. Push buttons, Turn knobs, play music, get the job done. Go forward.

I go home. I collapse. The rest of the night is forgotten.

It becomes more evident over the next few days that it is a suicide. No note. No indication (except in retrospect). No reason why. Had he planned it out? Or simply gone temporarily mad. We have nothing. Nothing except broken pieces, a funeral to plan, and questions. A puzzle with missing pieces. I keep trying to pic up the pieces. I keep trying to make it fit. Nothing fits. Nothing makes sense. Nothing..makes..sense.

I continue with school and theatre, school and theatre. I do not remember these days well. Only moments.

I went to my Aunts house. She had to go make funeral arrangements so I along with mom stayed there to answer the phone and pass on information. Everything reminds me of him. Pictures, clothing, flowers, cabinets, animals. Knowing he had touched each thing. Knowing what great thing he did beyond the back wall a day or so before. Mom went and cleaned the pool filters of the eye-glass cleaners that he never didn't have stocked in his pockets were still finding their way into the system, they now make a soggy heap on the countertop.

I decide to boldly circle the pool. Maybe putting myself in his last position, his last airspace, will bring clarity. I hope that it will all come to me. All the pieces of the puzzle will be found, and they will all fit perfectly. I hope that being in that area i will have every answer i need. I hope it is all a joke and when I go to that space he will come back.

Instead I see dark red in the grout..... Pools of dark red.

Could it? n..noNo... It couldnt... the police wrapped up the scene. I soon find out that doesn't include cleaning. I scream. I run as fast as my body will carry me into the house and tell my mother of what I just saw.. She moves with haste to clean it before my aunt finds it, knowing all too well it will not do any good for that scene to be witnessed.

In the following nights I have nightmares about that particular scene.

The funeral is very fitting. A lovely tribute. He is buried with fishing supplies, and a beer can in hand. I know with absolute certain he would love it. I remember his daughter exclaiming that he would be so pissed that she poured that beer on the ground.

It hurts to know where his physical body now lays. Not here with us, but under dirt, metal and satin. I am not quite at peace with it.


I am in absolute awe of his wife and daughter. I know they are in pain, but have come through it with absolute grace. I love each of them very much and am proud of the manner they are continuing their lives with.

It has been over a year since that day. I'm still trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. Still I wonder. Still I drive myself mad over the what ifs and technicalities. More pieces are coming together, but I know the whole struggle is in vain. I know I need to put this game up and move on. And I am getting better at it.

The pain and feeling of loss will never go away. Never fully. But I am still here. I can still tell of the wonderful man I call my Uncle. I am still alive. My heart, though it hurts, is still beating.