death…and suicide




death picture

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

I believe when I wrote about courage the other day that I might have presented a wrong impression about death.
I really dont know how to put this together so that it makes sense-except that because I have understood some things does not mean that it makes sense to others.
Ever since I was a little boy I saw a great deal of death. Interestingly-in our neighborhood in West Virginia I can remember three men that commited suicide,one of those my friend and I saw from beginning to end…we were about eight or nine. Even with Bennie ( a man Ive written about previously) who died on my brother Joes birthday.Bennie adored my little brother and my mother had sent me to Bennies with a chunk of cake wrapped in wax paper. Bennie usually was sitting in his Buick-its where he was every day,but on Joes birthday the funeral home guys were there and Bennie was dead. As they rolled him out on the porch the undertaker pulled the blanket back and there I stood holding Joes birthday cake looking down down at Bennies blue face-his eyes and mouth wide open.
And it was like that too-when the ‘flower man’ gassed himself -me and my pal happened along and the undertakers and the cops were there and layed on stretcher was the ‘flower man’ and the undertaker motioned for us to come over and there he pulls the blanket back and all blue in the face was the ‘flower man’….his eyes wide open and his mouth gapeing,deader than dead can get you. And the old guy that lived next to the ‘flower man’…same deal-but we were walking past his house on our way to school and there were the undertakers and cops and the old man layed out on a stretcher-as dead as any other dead guy can get,bullet hole in the head and we kids getting to see him just before going into the elementry school.
(We called him the ‘flower man’ because he planted all kinds of flowers along the roadside by his house and would show us kids things about growing flowers-he would do little characters with the snap dragons and was really a neat guy)
And so on it went-or began…I remember as a wee boy my mothers dad-PopPop …he took me to a huge house and made me sit on a rocking chair on the porch,I think I might have been five,and just about the instant PopPop went in the house I walked around the big porch and came to one of the windows and saw PopPop and some other people and they were looking at some old man laying on a couch all dressed up in a suit,laying there just still. I didnt realize until years later when I went to work in a funeral home that what I had seen as a little tyke was a man in repose in what they call a ‘full couch’,or a casket that happens to open fully to give the appearance of a couch.
And there is somewhere the key to why I went to work in a mortuary-the death of my baby brother sealed that deal-I had to know about this strange thing that does not care if its a man woman or child,and has no concern as to how it overtakes.
Looking at dead folks dont answer that question-it just rises more.

You cant help working in a funeral home to be hearing all kinds of religions-more less thats where my true introduction to the different faiths came and the different traditions that go with them…no matter what,they all go into a hole.
Theres no question-because of my past-I had found drugs and drinking as an easy way to put it all aside. It never stayed there-it was back the next sobriety. At one point I thought I had them licked-drugs…but when I got into cattle hauling the flow of crystle meth was as clear as the windshield to be a way of the life hauling livestock-and I fell into it.
I spent one full week wide awake. One load to the west coast to Brawley and from there to Mericopa and from there to Garden City Kansas-and back to Florida and back out again to Colorado…all wide awake.
And then-boom…it happened. My heart had enough and my body felt like somebody was inside of it fighting like mad to get out,the force so bad it knocked me to my knees and the other drivers helped me get into my truck-that God we were all standing around when it happened and not driving.
I lay there in my sleeper and I knew I was going to death…but yet it was really life.
And I layed there and as I said the other day-I felt it so pure and so real and so beautiful and I felt it relieveing me. Someone got in my truck to see how I was doing and I came out of it slightly but my eyes rolled back and away I went again. And to thinking about my mother and some other things and this all sounds crazy-I know….but it so,and for some stupid reason I turned my thoughts to this world and started feeling up to getting up and out on the ground again. What a fool.
A few years later I had a simular incident happen when I had a stroke-I was 46. And after that several events took place that reeled my mind around-the deal with Americas Most Wanted and the deal with my wife-the rattlesnake bride and all those things accumulated with all of the things in my life…and I claimed sobriety in order to see these things clearer-and one night I looked up into the sky and looked out at all those stars and I saw all of these things going by-things about me….
and I realized that this isnt life.
What I think is that we are all scared of death because of the sight of it and the conditions of it and the unknown about it…but its certain its the only equal thing we all get,one way or the other.
But Ive found out how sacred the whole matter is-the transition from here to there and how it really does not belong to us-even though,one day it will be ours.
Suicide is like stealing-and I dont think its as gentle a transition as just getting the unexpected or perhaps long awaited poof into the other side…and where I believe everything will be a new and always life-the life,and as it is evident around here with real life and ersatz televised life-as if we dont recieve enough…there must be something better,I feel it as I look out into the sky at dawn and at noon and at night and see the only real beauty we cannot bulldoze-although we are trying…because with suicide you are argueing with yourself and leaving in an unpeaceful and unsettled way-where as the other comes along in its own untimed way.
We all are going to get it-dang sure,no doubt about…its a fact. And I’ll be honest-its a good thing coming-but gladly Ive seen the peace about it and am satisfied to wait its call for me and allow ‘this’ to run its course.
Sunset and Evening Star,
and One Clear call for Me-
may ther be no moaning at the bar-
When I am put to sea…

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