Thursday, April 22, 2010

A time to be born, and a time to die...

I'm not sure why I'm writing this. I can't pretend to say that I'm going to commit to anything, that I want to grow as a writer, or any of that. What I can say for sure is that I need so very badly to express myself in words. There are some emotions, some states of mind, that are only fully realized when they're shared. I learned that in my Rhetorical Criticism class.

I had one of those moments the other day; one of those moments where only words can bring into existence the true emotion, the gravity, the reality of a situation. I grew up with a friend named Keith. He and his brother Scott were two of my very best friends in high school. They went to youth group with me, I went to their house nearly every day for video games and snacks, and we'd laugh as we watched stupid movies together for years and years. I went to college and Keith and I remained close. I'd still come home and spend time with him and his family - though that time became less and less frequent after I moved away from the Lake - and we were still a big part of each others' lives.

Keith and I still keep close. He comes to my ballet performances when he can. I make it to Fulton to visit him and his girlfriend when I can. I love his soul, and he nurturs mine. Scott, his little brother, lived in Springfield for the past year. We talked from time to time, but never really spent much time together. I didn't know him well after I left high school except what I heard through his brother.

But still, when I heard on the phone Tuesday afternoon that Scott had taken his own life, I was demolished. I got a text letting me know, a phone call to confirm, and then I do what I do whenever anything major happens in my life: I called my dad. And it wasn't until I spoke to my father that Scott's death, the reality of Scott's death, really came to me. All I said was, "Dad, Scott shot himself this morning. He's dead," and I was awash in grief. I was driving, so I had to pull my car over. And I wept.

He was twenty. And a good looking guy too.

I've wept a lot for Scott and for his family over the past few days. I've wept alone and I've wept with those who loved him like I did. He was a great kid with a heart of gold. He let us all know via facebook the morning he took his own life that he cared about us. He wrote:

"Scott knows that no words can express how much I care about all of you, so I hope you will settle for these. I love all of you for every minute of my life you were in it. You all made my life better in your own ways, and for that I can't say enough. Now I'm going somewhere that I can't be followed, and it saddens me to say it, but I must now say goodbye. Goodbye."

I weep even now as I read his loving words again. I wish there was more I could give him now besides words and tears.

Scott's words are a testament to his compassion. He was always trying to give me things. I have a collection of Scott memorabelia in my room this very moment that he gave to me. We shared our love of music, our devotion to those we care about, and we shared precious time together. We talked about girls and guitars. About high school and our futures. He gave me so much.

And that's where Scott has to continue to live for me and for all of those amazing people whom his life touched: In his willingness to give. Who knows why he lost hope or why he felt that he had no way out; one cannot make sense out of a senseless act. But now it is our job to press on, to love for Scott, not to stockpile our time and compassion but to hold our hands open for all to take freely. The only way we can find our way out of this, to make the darkness bearable, is together. It is by loving the way Scott loved. Freely. With abandon. Until the end.

I'm going to miss you, my dear beloved friend. We all will. I hope you have found the peace you were looking for.

3 comments:

Devil's Advocate said...

I'm sorry to hear this buddy.

Momma said...

Mark, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

He was nineteen.