Tuesday, May 03, 2005

When Petals Fall

The petals fell from my tulips this week which triggered the memory of that awful April so many years ago when Paul borrowed a car and rigged it up so he could breathe carbon monoxide and die. Then Diane, quoting T.S. Eliot, speaks in my head:
APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

But before the slugs finish feasting on the fallen petals, May pushes aside April and it seems too late to linger on the still surreal events of that long ago April night when Paul left us all without saying good-bye. Oh sure, he left some clues--an article he wrote called "Ten Acceptable Things to Do After Junior-Senior Banquet" (for instance, bowling: acceptable) and the video tape of "The Big Chill" playing on the hall television--but no one connected the dots until after the police found the car and poor Gerard had to identify the body because he owned the car. And then we shook our heads and sobs shook our bodies and we trembled in collective grief. A silent chill fell over that college campus as we tried to come to grips with his suicide.

Paul never imagined a life beyond that April night and so each April, I imagine for him, wonder at what might have been, ponder the seismic shock that continues to ripple the waves even twenty years after his desperate night. Twenty years came and went. And the petals still fall every spring, bringing a quiet end to their vibrant moments in the sun.

The tulips will be back, though, next year. They always return after the dark winter passes. Paul is gone forever.

9 Comments:

Blogger Eyes said...

That's a chilling post. Sad. I don't know if I'll ever look at tulips the same again...

8:36 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Darling said...

That is so sad. I too lost a friend to suicide. He hung himself. We had the same birthday. I always think about him on our birthday and wodner what could have been.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Lora said...

I'm not so sure what to say. Being such a personal post I really felt I had to say something.

I'm sorry that these events happened. I'm sorry that you have to relive it. You obviously have really sought to make sense of Paul's suicide.

Also I want to add that you have created some incredible imagery here.

11:58 AM  
Blogger A said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Mel. I too had a friend who committed suicide, he was an ATF officer who killed himself with his own gun. It is a hard thing to reconcile, isn't it. Hard to make sense of because the complete answers never seem to come.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Christi said...

I honestly didn't believe that you could really kill yourself that way. I always thought that was just a made up for tv kinda thing. I'm so sorry to hear that it does work, and that you know of someone who managed to be able to use it. That is very upsetting, and I always wonder if those who commit suicide really realize who they're hurting the most.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

Mel, I am so sorry for the loss of your friend.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

That is so sad. Before I got help for my anxiety,depression and panic attacks, I was thinking of locking myself in my garage with the car running. Luckily I am here and got the help I needed.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

That is so sad. My daughter has tried to commit suicide three times but we were able to get her to the hospital in time. My husbands aunt and uncle killed themselves. She jumped off a bridge and he shot himself. It is all so sad and the family and friends always wonder what they could have done. Really, there is little anyone can do except pray they get thru whatever is bothering them and realize how great life is.

12:43 AM  
Blogger Tina said...

I remember you mentioning this sometime before....sorry...it's such a difficult thing...:(

8:46 AM  

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