Only days after purchasing our little house in 2007, we realized we’d be surrounded by life’s variety of people. Our first memory of Mac was seeing him in his living room with the golden glow of lights beaming around his slender silhouette as he swayed to the rhythm of the music. We’d been working on our house all night and had stepped out into the brisk night air to take a break when across the street there he was, dancing the night away, alone. He went by the name Mac although his name was Dennis, and he would come to be like family to us. Although his language was offensive, there was a kindness to his soul. His ability to tell stories and remember facts was an impressive quality, especially considering his lifestyle choices. Mac was the kind of person who spoke the truth of life as he saw it. I once inferred something about health issues from alcoholism and he quickly corrected me, stating that he was not an alcoholic; he was a drunk. The most endearing, lovable, pot smoking, potty mouthed, truth speaking, drunk in the world, our neighbor Mac. His lifestyle choices were in complete contrast of our ways, yet we became friends. He kept an eye on our places while we were gone and we helped him when he needed it. Why then, why did he take his own life on Thursday August 21, 2014? Some say it was health issues and not getting the care he needed from the VA and that he was in pain, others say that the depression from drinking could’ve caused it. No matter the answer, it still doesn’t ease the pain of this irrevocable act. He’d been planning it for some time. He had laid out things with people’s names on post-it notes that he wanted them to have.
Days previously he’d given us a few Chinese lanterns, and although he seemed a bit quiet, we chalked it up to him not having his beer yet that morning. Why didn’t he just ask for help? We would’ve done more, we would’ve taken him to get help. What is it that goes through a persons mind to take them that far, so far that they pursue death? He made it through Vietnam, a horrible car accident, and the loss of his true love only to take his life years later at the age of 66 with a single bullet. Although he knew we loved him, I don’t think he really knew how important he was to us. I now stare out the window, looking at his empty house trying to grasp the reality of life, now that he’s gone. It is gut wrenching to know that he chose death. Dear God, please save his soul!
If only…. To anyone thinking about suicide please seek help. Life is not fair, death is not fair, we all suffer, and we all struggle, you are not alone! Sometimes it may seem like there is no hope, but have faith, what you are feeling is not forever, it will get better, and you are loved. There is no shame asking for help, rely on others to help you find your way out from the darkness. Please don’t cause heartbreaking pain and suffering to those you love, you can get through the tough time you may be experiencing. Speak your pain, work through it and please don’t give up.