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Last week an ex-blogger texted me I should to go to Facebook to read David Cooper of “Facing Traffic” had committed suicide. He wrote a farewell entry explaining his circumstances and the reason for his suicide. There are nearly 200 comments now filled with sorrow and salutes, reflecting one of David’s assets: he was adored by many.  I don’t think many realized the entry reflected another of his assets: he was a brilliant writer. His suicide note was a brilliant piece of prose. It made me almost agree with his inevitable conclusion this was the right thing to do.

What was not mentioned in his note nor in the comments was anger. I am aware I have some. While I certainly have sorrow it cannot completely whitewash the red rage that crept up my neck like a hot hand to discover this awful news. I thought if I wrote it out it may help.
He writes h

He had lost his health and this in turn lost his livelihood (he was quite clever and handy at building things). This led to financial destitution. He had depression too; he states he could not afford healthcare for his physical and mental well-being and his funds for daily existence were meager. His situation makes me hot with rage. Only in the f-cking States of America does one go bankrupt when you become sick. If you are lucky your relations may take pay and take care of you and if you don’t that then it’s too darn bad for you. I sense if he had had health care things may not have been so despairing.

There is a lot I don’t know of course. I don’t know if his depression had been treated nor if it was a great influence to his decision. So many what-ifs and he had not confided – at least not with me.

Another area of upset was reading over a hundred comments from folks who cared for him so including a cousin (so he had some family).  Where were they in his decline? Did they know and not do anything? Did everyone assume someone else was watching out for David?  Was it the other way around David shut out everyone including those would have helped him? I am part of this. I had not heard from David in ages – and I have not reached out either.

My experience is when someone makes up their mind to kill themselves no one can stop them really. All the same whenever someone commits suicide the survivors wonder what they could have done to prevent this. I still think if we had a better health care system; if we as a nation was truly a Christian nation as the hypocritical Right-wingers want; if David had kept in touch; if we did a better job – If I had done a better job at helping could it have prevented his death?

When feeling lost or powerless I often want to do something. Once upon a time I was struggling with all the what-ifs of a similar suicide. The listening priest advised me ‘Better to ask yourself now is there anything that can be done to heal the wounds?” A fair question.

I will remember David for his excellent prose and the one time we had supper in Scottsdale. He was part of the original Spo-shirt tour. What can be done to heal the wounds – I don’t know yet.

dvid1

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