A fatal disease can be hereditary or grow from your environment or come from another person - or none of the above. Death from disease can be inexplicable, however, there's a pretty good chance we can learn over time to accept that that's just how the chips fell.
The road was icy, the driver was drunk, the brakes went out, the murderer was high, vengeful and insane, might all be used to explain the cause of death from a crash or at the hands of another soul. We won't easily accept any of those reasons for dying, but there is a small chance we might be able to understand why the death occurred.
It's a triple devastating mess and shame when someone young dies from a car crash or murder or disease or tragic mishap. When someone young, or any age, takes his or her own life, it's an infinite shame.
No one knows why the young boy took his life. He was barely driving age; he was vital, he flourished, he was "a balanced boy," he had good grades and lots of friends. I didn't know the boy, I know his folks only to say hello to, but, I'm part of the boy's community, and for the next while we can only tilt our heads, shrug and utter, in hushed tones, the words, "what a shame," as we try to find answers to who, what, where and why, the boy took his life. We'd have better luck finding an eyelash in the sea.
As I said, I didn't know the boy, but last night, all night, I dreamt about him and his family. If he knew he had that strong an influence on people, maybe he wouldn't have taken his life. Or, maybe that's why he did.
It's been a week since the boy's death, and I've spent more time thinking about him than anything else, except perhaps Christmas. Christmas is a powerful spirit, I love it; it's the time of year we mark for pursuit of an all-out assault on joy and happiness. This year, for the boy's family, a much stronger spirit than Christmas has come to wreck the day.
Writing my columns I normally have to hold way back to finish under my editor's prescribed word count. With this column, I've repeated the same theme several times and have only gotten to about f400 words. I've searched my brain for ways to bring layers to my subject, but have come up with only one theme: confusion.
My dad spent the last 13 months of his 93.5 years of life in a nursing home, bent up, incontinent, unable to walk, and mired in a deep foggy dementia. Through it all he spoke with passion, ate like a lumberjack, and moved his arms (the only things he could move), with conviction and power.
The last time I left dad's room, I bent over him and told him I'd see him tomorrow. He was hunched down to the side of his bed, gasping for breath, struggling to live, but he still tried to answer me. To the absolute finish, dad kept his will.
Suicide disturbs the type of will my dad had, just long enough to prevail. How and why, I don't know. No one does. Still confused.
Rusty DeWees tours Vermont and Northern New York with his act "The Logger." His column appears weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen for The Logger, Rusty DeWees, Thursdays at 7:40 on the Big Station, 98.9 WOKO or visit his website at www.thelogger.com