by Andy Weddington
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
"No law can give or take away the choice to commit suicide." Maggie Gallagher
In 1989 two of my childhood friends and schoolmates (I don't believe they knew each other) committed suicide.
Both were smart, athletic, college-educated, successful and who women saw as handsome.
I read their obituaries in the newspaper. Through backchannels I learned death was by own hand - Steve by firearm and Bill by stepping in front of a semi tractor-trailer.
As boys and adolescents I knew them. Not just classmates we were sports teammates. Friends.
After college Steve owned a growing professional practice and Bill was a pro athlete who occasionally made the papers.
As men I did not know them.
Rumors abound. They left notes. They didn't leave notes. Business financial troubles. No money troubles whatsoever. Personal lives in shambles. And on the talk and speculation went, without answers.
I wrote notes to the parents of both recalling their sons' friendship - better days and cherished memories. Bill's mother wrote a short heartfelt thank you in reply. That was it.
Now going on 26 years I still think about them. What might they have achieved? And wonder why?
During that 26 years others known to me, men and women, have killed themselves.
A few years ago an acquaintance described being in a deep black hole. He said there was not so much as a flicker of light. I'll never forget the look on his face. The despair and defeat in his eyes and voice and body. Family and friends and medical professionals did all they could. Their efforts for naught. He was dead within a year.
About a month ago leaving Coronado on a beautiful Sunday morning police had barricaded the San Diego-Coronado Bridge and rerouted traffic down the strand because there was a jumper.
A 40+ minutes detour, first heading south and then north on I-5, and the bridge was still closed (for hours). News reports later in the day revealed the jumper to be a young woman.
She did not jump.
The response team talked her down. In her deep black hole they found a flicker of light.
Last week Andreas Lubitz (a co-pilot) was alone in the cockpit of a packed airliner that impacted earth.
Reports are the 30 year-old had mental problems (suicidal) before and after being awarded his commercial license; that doctors recently assessed he should not fly; that he had days earlier been dumped by a girl; that he was a Muslim convert; and still investigators are locating contacts and finding paper and sundry clues piecing together what is believed a purposeful crash.
Was Lubitz in a deep black hole?
He could have killed himself - by firearm; stepping in front of a semi; jumping from a bridge. By any number of lethal means.
Some one hundred fifty perished with him. And the lives of family and friends destroyed.