Last Halloween, an old Army buddy killed himself. Even though we hadn’t talked in almost thirty years, he was still a “buddy.” Indeed, that expression – “old Army buddy” – is so loaded with meaning. There is a certain bond between “old Army buddies,” not merely a bond between men but also a human bond between memories, emotional memories, and sometimes painful memories.
He was from Kentucky and called himself a “country bumpkin.” He laughed often both at others and at himself. Yet,when he put that shotgun in his mouth, I expect he felt relief.
Losing someone to disease is different than losing someone to suicide. Death by disease does not violate our core values. Death by suicide does violate that basic notion among all living things, i.e., that death must be avoided at all costs. Why does a person embrace the unthinkable? Animals never kill themselves. Only people do!
Surviving family members and friends don’t feel rejected, when disease takes a loved one. However, they do feel rejected when suicide takes a loved one.
Bill, your obituary said you had a wife, an ex-wife, two kids, and three grandkids. I wonder if they will miss you this Halloween. I will. You’re still my buddy!