Friday, December 7, 2012

133 Days - Segments of Suicide: When Thoughts Become Actions in a Complicated World

“I wanted to talk to you. I wanted to hear your voice and tell you that I loved you.”
That was the opening sentence of a phone conversation had between my husband and me not thirty minutes ago. He decided he would call me as he left the Toyota dealership where he had been this morning getting an estimate on what it would cost to repair the damage I had done to his truck as I accidentally rammed it into a pole about a month ago.
“I, along with about twenty other people in the waiting room of the dealership, witnessed something this morning that really shook me up. It was… I don’t know… it was disheartening, and pretty disturbing, but I wanted to share it with you because… well, I needed to share it with someone. No, I needed to share it with you, so, I’m going to.”
As I quietly sat on the end of my chair with my laptop in front of me in the middle of some mindless data entry, I listened intently to my husband’s quaky voice tell the tale of woman who experienced the unthinkable this morning. He set the scene at the dealership – where he was sitting in relation to where she was. What she looked like and what she was wearing. And then he proceeded, his voice even shakier now, to tell me how in a relatively quiet room with not much more than the sound of an irrelevant guest answering questions asked by a talentless daytime talk show host echoing in the background, this woman – middle-aged, nicely dressed, African American – began screaming at the top of her lungs.
“She was wailing, Barbara. I mean, it was the type of scream that I imagine would have been similar to the scream you let out in the mall when Roman was having his first seizure. You know… helpless. It was as if she was not in her own body. You had to see her… you had to hear her. She just kept screaming ‘My God, no! My God, no, no, no, God, no!’ and tears were pouring from her eyes.”
The woman was helped outside, he continued to tell me, quickly surrounded by Toyota employees trying to calm her down or find out what it was that was happening, or what she needed. Everyone, he said, was left in the waiting room in a deafening silence. But they stared. They stared, along with my husband, through the dirt-reddened waiting room windows as this woman continued her telephone conversation, and went on with her screaming and her wailing and her clear expression of pain, until she finally just dropped to her knees in silent heartache.
Her husband had shot himself this morning. Taken his own life. And someone called to tell her that. Right then. On the phone. At the dealership. While she waited with everyone else for her tires, or her brakes, or her wipers to be fixed. She was there going about her everyday life while somewhere in their home probably only a few miles away, he was taking his. What was he thinking? Was he thinking? Did he think in the process of taking his that he would also selfishly be ruining hers? No one knows. No one ever will. But everyone left will bear the weight of the pain.
“There was a guy next to me in a suit. He and I just looked at each other and shook our heads. I could tell he was affected. I was affected… I AM affected. And when he got up to leave he said to me ‘Have a good day’ and I said ‘thanks, yeah, have a better day than what that woman is having. Oh, and if you ever feel like you might want to end it all, I suggest you remember that scream’ to which the man responded ‘Good point. I think if her husband ever heard that scream, he would have never done what he did. Take care’ and then he left. But it’s true, Barbara. It’s true that when a person takes their life they are thinking about themselves most, and how they can’t take it, and they can’t handle it, but everyone… EVERYONE should hear a scream like I heard this morning. I think there would be a lot fewer suicides if they did.” 

Anne Tillet Palumbo was an English woman of incredible beauty. A hairdresser with a knack for fashion and a keen style eye, she married an Italian man from Philadelphia and gave birth to two children in her twenties, Barbara and Patrick. She was a wonderful wife and an incredible mother until the day she took her own life, leaving her kids – then seven and four – behind. Anne Tillet was my grandmother and her death affected my father in a way that I hope I may never affect someone I love. He grew up as a once talented, but often troubled artist who became an abusive husband and used alcohol to wash the pain away, if only temporarily. Without the love of his mother he struggled to know the proper way to parent and the end result was a strained and eventually non-existent relationship with his children, me being one of them. When I think about those who commit suicide, I think of how the act of my grandmother affected my father. And then I think about how it would affect my son and how I would never wish my father’s life on someone so precious and so dear. As the granddaughter she never knew – one of only two grandchildren she would have had – I also think about what it would have been like to know her. I look like her, which I’m sure made the pain even greater for my father. Did he resent me because I reminded him of her? Did that strain our relationship even more because he hated that she left him behind to suffer, motherless and guideless? Those are answers I will never know in the same way that she doesn’t know the pain that she caused on the day that she left this world, never to exist in mine.


Jovan Belcher. A gay Michigan teenager. The nurse who was pranked by two radio DJs into giving out information about Kate Middleton. A bullied ten-year-old girl in North Carolina. These are people who killed themselves just this week. Left behind are infant daughters, loving parents, co-workers, friends and lovers, all of whom I could only imagine screamed a scream similar to that of a middle-aged African-American woman waiting to have her brakes fixed somewhere in Georgia, only a mere hour or so ago.
To those right now thinking about giving up, know this: You cannot successfully live for yourself without simultaneously living for others. You are not just giving up, you are giving up on them. Be selfless. Be strong. And above all, show the ultimate sign of love for those around you by staying. It genuinely will get better.

Monday, December 3, 2012

137 Days – The Return of the MILF Writer

So, what’d I miss?

WOW… now THAT’s what I call a hiatus! It’s been thirty-eight days since I logged on to and man, I’ve got to admit that even I missed the attention-seeking mediocrity. After all, writers do desire attention, do they not? I mean, at least published writers do, which by the way, is a group that I am now part of.
That’s write… I mean er, right, bitches… I got PAID!! Oh I know it doesn’t mean shit to you, especially if you’re a writer who writes for a living, but chances are that if you’re a writer who writes for a living, your ass ain’t reading this blog. It's not exactly Hemingway fodder, so I’ll carry on.
Yes Virginia, I have officially been paid for a piece that was published and I have to say that it felt pretty goddamned awesome. You see, my darlings, I don’t write for a living, nor am I sure I ever could. I do something else for a living that I also genuinely love – working with precious metals and gemstones – but writing had always been more of an outlet or hobby; something that I could do to express myself when verbalization and tears would no longer cut it. I used to draw when I was younger as a sign of expression but as I got older I realized just how much I wasn’t the artist that my father was, so drawing only frustrated me more. Now that I’m on the Eve of Forty (PLUG!) I find that writing is a much better way to express what’s going on in my brain, or even in my soul some days, and that it’s a fuckload more effective than yelling or kicking homeless people, so I stick with it.
Why thirty-eight days you say or you didn’t but I wish you had for the sake of this post? Well, I’ll tell you, selfish person who didn’t actually ask: because I physically, emotionally and mentally couldn’t do it any sooner. If you read my last blog post you probably wondered what in cock’s world was going on in my life. I received texts and private messages from some really caring, wonderful friends concerned about my well-being after 175 Days and for those folks, I’m extremely grateful. I guess I was going through some things. A sort of mini-depression one might say, although I'm not sure I've ever been in a depression before so who knows exactly what it was, and it took that long, as well as a little encouragement from a fellow writer and good friend to get back on the horse (Thanks, Ant). Now here I am sitting high in the saddle, preparing for my ass to hurt after a long day’s ride once more (cue Beavis-style giggling) and I’m ready… again… to count down the days…
So coming up soon I’ll share with you the story of my first mammogram and how affected I was by the process and result. I’ll also be writing a holiday post and maybe I’ll even share the story of the time I got my nipple caught in the keyhole of a parking meter, but that’s for down the road. Until then, feel free to go back and view some of my older posts so that my view count will rise and I’ll think that people actually read my shit. Even if you don’t read it just click the links here and there to make me feel better. It’s cheaper than therapy and I’d do it for you. Maybe.
Talk at you soon… and as my friend Anthony San told me just today... #GetInspired.