Grief is one of the most overwhelming emotions that one can experience. I’ve always thought that is magnified by unexpected loss and even more by public loss. By public loss I mean something that makes headlines. My first and only experience with loss was exactly that. It involved a situation that made front page news and the difficulty with coping was going to the news outlets and reading the comments people would write. It fueled my rage toward the party responsible. I became an Internet vigilante slaying people with my words for judging someone who died through no fault of his own in front of his then 4 or 5 year old. People would comment that he was another “Bronx” piece of shit. I ripped so many of those comments apart I wound up getting apologies. But realistically, how many of those comments could I reply to?
To this day I’m not as angry as I was 7 years ago but I still feel the same. I feel that the punishment is not enough, the culprit got about 7 years. In my eyes the only just punishment is for his daughter or mother to suffer the same fate at someone’s hand and have to live with the memorization of them under a white sheet on the side of the street like garbage. Because that’s the lasting image that has remained imprinted in my mind. I see the news photo of his body under a sheet on the side of the road and I live with that image every single day.
I recently read Susan Klebolds book related to Columbine. I have to admit openly that my sadness is 100% with the victims. After reading the book I felt some twinge of sadness for her because she lost her son, but since he caused the damage, in a super fucked up way that to me outweighs whatever sadness I might feel for him or his family. I also admit that after reading her book, she has in a sense paid her dues, living with her son’s actions, battling cancer, she can never walk away from this and that in a sense is her own hell that she is sentenced to for the rest of her life for something she didn’t directly do.
I have battled both depression and had suicidal thoughts in my early years. There came a point where trying to be an adult and hold a household down at 16 became literally unbearable. I wanted to die. Then I would pull myself off that ledge of thought by reminding myself I had goals. I had things that I would never be able to achieve and my parents the responsible parties for my grief would continue living and I would no longer have a chance to accomplish what I wanted, that it would literally become game over. That kept me going, because in a super fucked up way my punishment to them was I would live, I would succeed and you’d have to deal with what you’ve done while I would be absolved of my grief and pain for all of that years I suffered.
Depression has been a long lasting battle. I haven’t had a super bad bout since before moving to New York. One of the worst episodes came after a massive shopping spree. I rolled awake the next day to bags all over the floor of my room and I didn’t want to deal. I felt no joy, I didn’t want to leave the confinement of my bed, I didn’t want to hang out, I felt no pleasure. Normally this would be a sight to rejoice, this time, I felt nothing.
It’s because I have a phenomenal support system of friends that I can keep on trucking. One of them came to my house and literally got me out of the house. He showed up at my door and got me out of the house and I was able to start coming out of the fog. Because that’s what it feels like, a dark cloud of negativity where there is no joy, no happiness, nothing good. So do I understand both depression and suicidal thoughts? In my own way yes. But I also do feel like there are indicators. If I had had an alarm at that time I would’ve been blaring at full speed like a siren. So even after reading the book I still came away with a feeling that things were missed. It’s clear in hindsight that a lot of people i.e. Police, the school, parents missed things but in all reality could we do anything different? Not everyone is expressive, I’ve always been an open book but in all honesty I don’t think I’ve ever really touched the issues of my past suicidal thoughts. I may have in passing talked about this with close friends now, but I don’t think I ever like I am right now said, I was suicidal or had thoughts to kill myself. But then again, I doubt anyone knew just how dark I had gone. I managed to find ways to pull myself time and time again out of the fog and these thoughts. But I haven’t had the thoughts of hurting myself since that moment I decided I was worth living and enjoying my life.
After reading the book the one thing that stood out were all the things that were going on before the tragedy. There was this like planned confrontation, defacement of property, the detached reaction to why it was wrong to misuse the schools locker information, the break in the van, and then of course the infamous paper that warranted the school calling Dylan’s parents. I have a daughter and I know that any call from the school I am in there like swim wear, I ask my daughter who is only 5 if anyone in school is bothering her because I know the new generation that we live in. I have told her if there is any problem, mommy will handle it, because I will, I also want to establish with her that she is not alone. Whether the issue is a teacher not letting you use the bathroom or a bully, you tell mommy and mommy is going to handle that, you won’t be in trouble, I will take care of it. In hindsight, we have all of the answers, in retrospect its easy to see and know and fix what we’ve missed, what we’ve done wrong and how to make things right. However, I think that if I had really genuinely lost the desire to live then I would not be here to write this, because I would’ve found the way to fulfill that desire to let go.