Healing from the Unimaginable

Beth and Nick Solstice Parade

Since I heard of Robin Williams death, I cannot stop thinking of two sentences from my own son’s suicide note:

“I know that there are people who will be deeply negatively affected by this, and I am truly sorry.  There is no excuse for what I have done, and I ask forgiveness.”

“deeply negatively affected” – Nicholas, Robin, you had no idea.

I wonder where his wife and his children were when they found out.  I had been out for a nice dinner with a friend and was home watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind with one eye open.  I hadn’t seen it since I was a kid. 

When the phone rang, I thought it was Nick.  The night before, we had talked about his high school literature club.  “People aren’t talking mom.”  So, he discussed the book with the teacher. 

It wasn’t Nick on the line, it was his father.  “Nicholas is dead.”  “He shot himself.” 

I convinced myself that if I got there, it wouldn’t happen.  I got on a plane in 45 minutes.  To this day, I am disgusted that I neatly packed a black dress and matching shoes for a funeral.  

My life changed forever in an instant.

My son’s note also articulates his reasoning:

“I feel like there is no point, hopeless, helpless, and angry.  There is no reason for me to keep going.  Not every day, there are bright spots I can think of, but for the most part I feel like I am faking everything I do, every laugh  and every smile.  I worry constantly that somebody will be able to one day spot my act and expose me, I guess that is the only reason that this is happening now.  It feels like my face is sliding off, my facade is growing weaker by the day and I want to go before anybody worries over me.”

Is this how Robin Williams felt?  A man ‘charged’ with bringing laughter and joy to others.

I know that he brought so many experiences of laughter and joy to my son and me.  We laughed so much together.

I know the temptation in all of this is to search for a reason or meaning or whatever….

This is a waste of time.

Now it is time to give his family peace and space.  To restrain our almost prurient interest in the details.  To love those who are vulnerable.  To question the epidemic of suicide in our country. To cry.  To love those around us.  To pet the dog.  To forgive.  To try to laugh again.

To love them both, even in death.

Beth Savage is currently the Senior Development Director at GLIDE.  Her son, Nicholas Savage Martin passed away in September 2011.  He was brilliant, funny, kind.  He was her everything.
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The SF Board of Supervisors Rocks! GLIDE sends a special shout-out to the SF Board of Supervisors President, @londonbreed, and our District 6 Supervisor, @supejanekim, for their swift response to our call to help. When a water pressure problem threatened GLIDE's ability to serve the 2000 meals needed daily by our community, these stellar Supervisors got the problem fixed overnight! Much love and gratitude to the SF Board of Supervisors for being great partners in serving our communities! #localgov #publicservice Henry with the GLIDE crew yesterday in #Sacramento, supporting the rights of immigrant families! #californiavalues #SB54 Susan Muse from GLIDE standing up for #immigrantrights  and #SB54 in Sacramento today. #nobannowall Advocacy Manager Ben Lintschinger with GLIDE member Curtis Bradford, advocating to pass #SB54 in Sacramento today! @glidesflegacy @angelabrown17 @tdubtx @theonj3 #nobannowall #nomassdeportations #immigrantrights

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