This installment is an extension, or continuation, of “Truths — Part 1” from several weeks ago. I haven’t been able to write much since Alex’s death. Too hard, no attention span, no interest. But to save myself, I’ve got to pick me up and continue.
I guess it should come as no surprise that someone in the family was going to fall victim to this hideous disease that has struck so many of us. I’m so sad that it had to be my son. It’s hard to look upon what he did as a courageous act, when all you want is him, back alive. But at the same time, he went through with what I failed to do twice, and my mom at least a few times. In the end I guess a little part of us wanted to live, but not Alex. Based on the stories I heard about how he spent his last year of life, his future would have been a living hell. Thus, this is obviously something he wanted to do for quite some time — and he finally found a willing accomplice to make it so.
I wonder what was going through their minds as they imbibed a lethal dose of phenobarbital. Were they really both in it 100%? Did one of them have anything to do with “forcing” the other into the act? Did either of them have regrets in the time that they consumed the poison and when they left this world? These are the questions that we will never know, and there are few clues in his final words — just that this is what he wanted. For those of us who cherish life, how can death be what something one wants?
Well, let’s talk about hopelessness and meaninglessness. Now there’s a couple of feelings that have run rampant throughout the lives of our family, and in particular, my mom, Alex’s mom (borderline personality disorder), and myself. I struggle with it constantly.
I spoke of a flight in “Truths — Part 1” that had some pretty severe consequences. Given what has happened since then, even though I could make an entire essay out of those hours, it now seems unimportant, so I’m going to shorten it up. My most immediate ex would say “bottom line it”, so that I wouldn’t get so verbose. So the bottom line is, I began the flight with fractured ribs from a fall the night before (NOT alcohol related), mismanaged my own prescription drugs before and during the flight, and failed to wake up for landing from my fully-flat bed in Business Class in London. After the crew was finally able to awaken me (I was the last passenger on the plane), they had me put in a wheelchair, and from there I have no idea how I managed to claim my baggage, get to the shuttle, and check into the hotel. I remember nothing. I was told that I sexually harassed a female colleague (“dude, I’m gay”) later that evening, and for these reasons, I was fired. What they didn’t know is that I became a member of the mile-high club prior to collapsing into my seat/bed. That I remember. I was in a state of mania for a good eight years before I became properly medicated, and I’ll talk about that in another installment. But what being in a manic state made me do was engage in risky behavior, and this is evident not only from this example, but down to snorkeling near rocks and being impaled by sea urchins. “Curiosity got the cat” doesn’t quite account for the things that I did. Repeatedly.
Mom just had access to too many drugs, and used them as she wished. This did not help her depression. After those six weeks undergoing shock treatment in Galveston in the spring of 1967, an alarm must have gone off within her. Once she got home back in Abilene, it was only a matter of weeks that she would have a meeting with us kids, discussing divorce and what that all meant. I don’t remember my step-father being a part of this conversation, but I might be wrong. Many things were kept from us, and it was well into 1967 that we learned not only would there be a divorce, but that “we” (Mom, my sister and I) would be leaving drought-ridden, oil-trodden Abilene for the sunny and lush Pacific coast in Ventura, California, where my dad was living. The last week in January of 1968 was when we left Texas, my friends, my school, and the only home I had ever known.
This seems like a good place to end while I gather my thoughts for where I go from here. I never intended for this to be a biopic — it will weave as my stream of consciousness — and drive to write — meanders with the day, the hour, even the minute. Losing Alex has had a definite and lasting effect on how I function.