I Spoke Too Soon
…about never having known someone who committed suicide.
I have now.
What’s worse is, he took his family with him. Lord knows I understand what kind of desperation it takes to follow through on the urge to self-destruct, but for someone to go into rooms and summarily execute his spouse and children, one by one…well, I can’t even wrap my head around it.
There have been several news stories about possible financial problems and a huge lawsuit, but none of us who knew and cared about this man would have thought for an instant that he was capable of doing this. He was kind and generous to many people, myself included; he was creative and smart and funny; and even when he had to tell you something you didn’t want to hear, he did it with such gentleness that you couldn’t help being grateful he was the one to deliver the bad news.
But something drove him mad, and now we will never know what it was.
I know everyone has a dark side. We never really know for sure what we are capable of until we face a situation that we can’t control and lose ourselves in that darkness. I remember feeling that way last fall when life had become so unbearable that I came thisclose to killing myself. But I wouldn’t have taken anyone else out. The thought never even crossed my mind. All I could think of was how the rest of my family would be better off if I were out of the picture…if they no longer had to worry about me.
Maybe my friend took those thoughts a step further. Maybe the legal action would result in his losing much of his wealth, which he might have believed would cause utter ruin for him and his family. He had created a huge Internet empire, and he enjoyed the fruits of his labors; the family took frequent vacations to exotic locations and lived in a multimillion-dollar mansion with an eight-car garage. Maybe he just couldn’t bear the thought of being disgraced in the media and the virtual community he founded and built with his own two hands.
And, maybe that darkness that resides in all of us overwhelmed his defenses and led him to destroy his beautiful family. Who knows what was going through his mind as he went from bedroom to bedroom, shooting each of his sleeping children and his wife in the head before turning the gun on himself? I just can’t reconcile the man I knew with the one who did this.
Obviously, no one will ever know for sure why it happened. We who cared about him can speculate until the cows come home, but the answers to this mystery died with him and his loved ones on that September night. There will be no closure. One day you’ll probably see it on one of those true-crime stories on the ID channel where they have shows like “Forensic Files”, or you’ll read about it in an Ann Rule book.
In the meantime, I mourn his loss and that of his family—especially his three teenaged children—and I think I finally understand that I don’t have the power to see another person’s heart… and thus cannot judge what is inside it.
Rest in peace, friend. May you find forgiveness, and may you find the peace that eluded you in this life.