Saturday, December 8, 2018

Death of a young man

I went to a funeral yesterday. Left the house at noon, didn't get back home again until almost 5pm, so it essentially took up the whole of my day.

I picked up a friend who can't drive and we went early because we knew that half the town would be there and we hoped to get seats. It was the funeral for a young man who committed suicide, his family is very well known and connected in this town. I have known the family for over 40 years, and the young man helped me build a fence around my backyard in anticipation of Hapi's arrival in 2011. My friend's kids went to school with this man, he was part of a large 'gang' of kids who hung out together in those days.

He struggled with depression for most of his adult life. He was somebody who appeared to have everything going for him: attractive, talented, well-liked and at the centre of a good group of fun-loving kids. Also part of a loving family with lots of cousins and aunts and uncles around. But for whatever reason it wasn't enough.

I know two things about depression. One is, your brain lies to you. And the more it lies the more you isolate yourself from the people who can point out the lies. The other is, it's worse when you're young. Emotional experience is more intense and you don't have the acquired knowledge of life experience to deal with it.

The funeral was well done I thought. It was held in his parents' church, there was a slide show of photos and a display of some of his art and musical instruments. The hymns were good. That's saying a lot, I don't usually like hymns, to put it mildly. A Catholic priest who had befriended the young man gave the eulogy, his brother and a former girlfriend spoke of their experiences with him, and another friend sang 'Somewhere over the rainbow'. At the end they played a recording of the young man singing a Creedence Clearwater Revival song. No dry eyes, but a few chuckles over some of the stories, particularly as told by his brother.

His mother is the musical director of that church and all of the family is musically gifted. A few young people attended but around here most young people have to move away to find work, so a lot of parents of the kids who hung out together attended on their kids' behalf. Many more went to support the family of the young man. My kids weren't part of that gang, they were an older cohort, so I went because of my relationship to the family and because of my brief relationship with the young man who helped to build my fence.

It snowed heavily. I could barely get back up the hill to my home afterward. Yet another winter wonderland. The ducks really are gone now, the ponds are fully frozen. After dark the sky cleared and I watched Orion rising with Hapi. I love that she likes to just sit and watch the world. She even got me out of bed so she could go out and look at the snow one more time.

1 comment:

Wisewebwoman said...

You draw a wonderful picture of your day. What an awful tragedy. How terrible for those who loved him. Though the service honoured his accomplishments and life.

I like that Hapi takes you outside of yourself. Ansa did that for me too.