, , , , ,

Many of you might know that the title of this article refers to a song by Soundgarden. Some might also know that the lead singer, Chris Cornell died yesterday. While it is incredibly sad for such a great talent to leave us early, my life was impacted on a personal level by the death of a neighbor yesterday also.

Sadly, I was having an argument with my son, when my neighbor grabbed a gun and ended his life. I did not even hear the gunshot. For this, I feel a bit ashamed.

I suppose it is common for anyone who knows/knew someone who killed themselves, to feel some kind of guilt. You feel as if you should have known on some level. Yes, I suppose I feel that, even though I did not know him very well.

We had more in common than a lot of people I have met in my lifetime. We both were in long-term relationships. We both had physical problems that did not allow us to work. We both had issues with being home alone a lot. Yet, he is gone and here I am.

Why is this so? He was younger. He had a pig and a dog. He even had a car. He certainly had more to live for than I. Yet, he is gone, while I remain.

The only real difference between us, was that he drank alcohol and I do not. I suppose that was my main reason for not getting too close to him. I had been down that road for a very long time and was glad to be off of it. I don’t doubt, for even one second, that it was this one simple difference that determined our very different fates.

Alcohol has a tendency to elevate whatever emotions you are feeling at the time. Certainly, that had to be the thing that influenced his decision to end his life. In some ways, I should be happy that my thyroid went crazy and I decided to quit drinking.

But I would be remiss to act, as if I am certain, that is a good thing. Not his death, but my life I refer to. Had I not changed my ways, then I would have missed all the bad things I have had to experience since. Like him, I suppose, I want it to all just be over. When the black days never seem to end, it feels at times like the best option is death. Trying to shake the dark thoughts is not always an easy task and on black days like this, it is even harder.

However, there are things my neighbor will never get to learn, for he ended his life too soon to discover them. He won’t learn some the great truths of life, that only come with time. He will miss the moment of eureka that happens when you learn something profound, something life changing. He will never get to the other side of life, where you begin to see the guiding hand of the universe. He will never learn that there are reasons, there is a purpose, there is a plan.

Instead, he will be just a footnote in a life that barely matters. He will be a lesson learned, a truth given, a moment of loss…in an ocean of suffering.

…Goodbye my casual friend and neighbor. I hope that your black days have ended and that you find yourself at the gates with Chris Cornell. May you both find some peace of mind.