6 November 2009 § Leave a comment
“i don’t believe that people should take their own lives without deep and thoughtful reflection over a considerable period of time.”
— wendy o. williams, punk rock performer, d. April 6, 1998
27 january 2002. i think i got the call the next day, or maybe the day after. your dad called mine and i didn’t think anything of it until my dad walked back into the room and said, “that was terry. devon killed himself”.
it took me months to get back to normal. i still think of the last time i saw you smiling, laughing and saying something that made me realise that the two of us–two cousins who fought like cats and dogs, beat the shit out of each other, and took delight in scaring the crap out of each other–were more alike than i had remembered. we both had that look, the one that made strangers know we weren’t just little redneck kids from the valley. we were more. and grandma and grandpa cole, they always called us the smart ones. we were. compared to the other kids, we were nothing like the other coles.
but we are. we both have it, that aching and neverending pain, that inexplicably dull and murderous emptiness. our big eyes tired and red from the crying you can’t stop, those parents who don’t care, completely incapable of understanding. i know what it’s like. i know how you felt. i wish you had called me, because out of anyone on this whole fucking planet, devon, i would’ve understood.
you should be done with college by now, or like me, a well-meaning but casual slacker. they put a university in the city where you died, maybe you would have gone there, graduating last spring with the first lady in attendance. or maybe you’d live in san jose and be in the midst of your 8- to 10-year sentence at sjsu.
but you’re not. today is your birthday, little cuz. i never forget. i should be taking you out for drinks tonight, celebrating and laughing instead of remembering and crying. i hate you for doing this to me, but i don’t blame you. i know how it feels. so many times i think of it myself, and then i recall how unreal it felt to be staring down at you in your casket, your face painted with fake colour. of everyone there, friends and family and strangers, i know i was the only one who pulled down the collar of your shirt to check for ligature marks (you would’ve done the same to me). i still laugh at the guy who fainted during your funeral–of course an emt would faint at another emt’s funeral–and cringe when i think of the music they played. sorry about that.
i don’t know if you’re one of them now, the collective of coles that no one talks about in detail because they don’t know how to talk about suicide without emotion. why don’t they just realise that’s our preferred way of leaving ? we are nothing if not stubborn and independent, and nothing says that quite like a suicide. i still talk about you. i don’t want to make you into one of those guys. that’s why i remember, remember, every 6th of november. your kitten that was so tiny, the day you kissed me and i punched you, the ninja turtles that hurt so bad when you threw them at me, horseback riding and christmas morning at the ranch, mcdonalds fries and campfires, and when we laughed so hard when your brother got stung by a bee that we pissed ourselves. oh boy.
i miss you, devon. happy birthday.
25 August 2009 § Leave a comment
back to school. in lieu of working full-time at a job i knew i wouldn’t like (and my best friend knew i would hate), i am going to plow through the few classes i have remaining at foothill college, transfer to san jose state university, and wrap up my undergraduate degree. the whole point of this is so i can go to grad school and get my masters in library and information science. instead of being a “librarian”*, i will be a real librarian.
i’m nervous about this for a number of reasons, the most frustrating of which is my recent struggle with cognitive malfunctions. i’m forgetting where i put things, what i’m doing, which part of the building i’m supposed to be working in, even simple things like words and names. i sort of feel like an alzheimer’s patient. even scarier, i don’t know if this is a result of my depression (which i’ll probably struggle with for life) or the medication used to treat it.
i wonder if i’ll forget what day it is, or a large assignment. or if i’ll go to the wrong classrooms and sit halfway through the lecture before realising i’m in the wrong place…okay, it probably won’t be that bad, but i’m still quite concerned about this. at least it’s a documented medical condition, so maybe the teachers won’t get mad when i forget what their names are.
*usually when i am out with a group of librarians, i make a point to mention that i am not a librarian (not that most people know the difference, but it mattered to me). it was later decided that i have no reason not to mention that, since anyone who reads library journal and hates the systems office may as well be a librarian. oh, and i know a lot of stuff.