in march of 2017 i sat alone in a dark room. i had called the suicide hotline because of what was in my left hand: a loaded .357 magnum. i was homeless and house-sitting for a friend; it was their gun. i happened upon it; i was holding it serendipitously. i called the suicide hotline because i was afraid of what i was about to become: a murderer.
though the five years of my life, prior to that moment were riddled with suicidal thoughts, tendencies, and ideations, that day was the closest that i had come to following through with fulfilling my suicidal desire. i remember feeling like i was losing.
when robin williams killed himself, i hurt and i cried. i hurt because my hero was gone. i cried because it occurred to me that if he lost his battle with suicide, i didn’t stand a chance against it. that realization terrified me. i called the suicide hotline in an attempt to pull out a win in what appeared to be my final seconds.
it wasn’t the first time that i had called the suicide hotline. Christ, it was probably the fifth time in two years. the first time was in 2014, i was newly homeless and very alone. it was a day that is still the worst day of my life, my ex-wife had left the state with our daughters.
if i made the call to the suicide hotline from the dark room because i was afraid of what i was about to become, then i made the first call because i was supposed to. it’s called “premeditated” murder because it is planned, and i was in the planning stages.
knowing that person ‘a’ is planning to kill person ‘b’ mandates that the authorities be informed. i called the suicide hotline and told them that i was planning to kill myself. i spoke with a woman whose name i think i remember. she kept me on the phone until she had changed my mind with a speech that i still remember. we spoke until my phone died.
i called the suicide hotline another time because i was tired and felt that i couldn’t go on. this was the shortest call of them all. i spoke to a person whose name and gender i do not remember. i do remember being asked if i had children. when i said that i did, i was told, “if you kill yourself, you’ll be introducing suicide into their lives as a solution,” to which i replied, “fuck.” my goal as a parent was to end the horrible cycles that were passed down to me, not to pass down new ones. i thanked the counselor for the enlightenment, and then went about my way.
i went about my way as a homeless, alcoholic who slept in his car, who would sober up, get a job, find a place for him and his son to live, take in and start caring for his son’s friend as though he were his own, start drinking again, lose his job for being incompetent, get evicted for being delinquent, and end up living in his car again, whilst making sure that his boys never went without a roof over their heads.
i stopped being the person i hated being, just to end up being the person i wanted to murder. i became the person in that dark room who was all but holding a gun to my head. the gun i found whilst looking for toilet paper. the gun was there because the room where it supposed to be was being remodeled.
i am in tears, a gun is in one hand, and the suicide hotline is on the phone that is in my other hand. the tears are for fear. i was about to kill myself; i was afraid of me. to put it bluntly, i was scaring the shit out of me.
i told the woman who answered about the gun and she asked for my location, i did not give it to her. she asked me why i wanted to kill myself, i gave her the long answer. she asked if i wanted to live for anything, i gave her a short answer.
i spoke and she listened. i cried and she heard me. i hurt and she asked me how certain i was that i was going to kill myself.
“about 50/50,” i answered.
“oh good!” her relief was the only thing i noticed.
“huh?” i asked.
“adam, if you aren’t sure, then you aren’t going to do it!” i could hear her smile.
and like that, i was relieved too. i did not want to be but i was. i was not happy that i was not going to kill myself but i was relieved that i was not going to kill myself. i was glad that she had stopped me from becoming a murderer.
had i been self-aware enough to see the relationship between suicide and murder when i made that last call, i may not have needed to make the call to begin with. this realization came to me whilst i was mourning chester bennington. i felt for him that he felt suicide was his only answer, but when i saw his mural in sherman oaks, california, it hit me as i wondered, “is this the victim or the murderer?”
i am reminded of this relationship as i watch friends mourn anthony bourdain.
i am reminded that i almost murdered my parent’s child, my children’s father, my brothers’ brother, my friends’ friend, and my ex-wife’s ex-husband. that’s what suicides do; they murder. they murder our family members, loved ones, heroes, and inspirations. suicides murder our hope.
over a year has passed since i made my last call to the suicide hot line, i have yet to regret making that call. one day i might, and if… when that day comes, i hope i make that call again.