Dear Dan,

I’m going to do a cross-post here. I don’t have the heart to do two posts.

On July 25, 2007 you wrote a note at home, had a friend drive you downtown, and then jumped off a parking garage. I can’t say that I understand the thought process behind that decision, but let me speak to the last line in your note: “Suicide is painless. M.A.S.H.”

Was it? Was it really? Or was hitting the ground at high velocity a lesser pain than whatever you were going through?

Whose pain are we talking abut? Yours? Maybe it was painless. However, I think the mental anguish leading up to the actual event had to have been pretty painful.

So were you talking about the  pain of the people who love you? Then I call bullshit, bro. Nine years later and I feel that pain as intensely as I did the day you took your own life.

So life goes on. After a fashion, maybe. I look at mom. She doesn’t know what day it is and I’m not telling her. Between the dementia and the pain pills for the shingles, I’m lucky if she knows her own name. And hey, she doesn’t even remember that you committed suicide. On the days when she remembers she had a son named Dan, she thinks her daughter is that son. Yeah. Fun times.

So suicide is painless? For Whom? The man you tricked into being executor? Let me tell you: Death is the gift that keeps on giving. Even after all the years of Dad’s passing, there are still issues that come up about the estate. And he had none! I’m sure your executor gets a little pressie from time to time. I still do, and I wasn’t directly involved with the immediate legal issues!

For whom? Your friend that drove you? I’m sure there was a little “if only” game played there right after.

A childhood friend committed suicide the week before you. (Was it something in the water where we grew up?) He took his life by using a hunting rifle. Messy. So was yours, but you wrapped a note and your ID in plastic wrap so the police could identify you and they’d know this was a suicide, not a murder.

So I look at Clair’s sister and see the change in her since her brother’s death. The hurt is always there behind the smile, behind the laugh, behind other heartache.

I look at myself and see the same. It’s always fucking there! So I ask again — whose pain?

I believe in an afterlife. I don’t think of angels sitting on clouds and playing harps, but I do believe the ones we love journey on. Because I can’t get past the pain of losing you in this way, am I keeping you tied here? Am I preventing you from traveling on?

So now the guilt sets in. Am I Holding You Back? I know in many ways, I’m holding myself back. The place in my heart that’s filled with pain could be filled with love and joy.

On this anniversary, like the eight others that have come before,  I’m home, avoiding people as much as possible. It’s too difficult  to be around others.

I’ll spend most of the day, trying to remember the good times, so tonight when I have to drive a friend to Hershey, I won’t be crying so hard I won’t be able to see the road.

So suicide is painless? Bull! Shit!

Nevertheless, I love you, bro. I always will.

Dan tossed his cookies
Dan tossed his cookies


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