Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Golden Gate

May 8th, an 18 year old boy got up and printed out directions to the Golden Gate Bridge. A few hours later, he was dead.

I was 9 when my little brother was born. He was my excuse to start babysitting and to learn all the Disney movies by heart. He grew up while I was away at college and grad school. He got taller and taller every visit home, and had grown to appreciate the Daily Show and cynical comedy.

The drop from the bridge is 240 feet, meaning jumpers reach a velocity of 80 mph by the time they hit the water. Only a tiny percentage survive the jump. Most die as their organs shred (inertia at work), others drown. Apparently, almost all jump towards land. The San Francisco Chronicle cites many statistics in a series they did on suicides from the bridge.

Is my brother another statistic? If you watch baseball long enough, you realize almost anything can become a statistic. He was 18 and hadn't graduated from high school yet. He will never vote, he will never go to college. He will never legally drink or go to a frat party. He won't cram for finals for lectures he skipped. He won't get married, he won't have children, he won't get a job, he won't retire.

He won't read the final Harry Potter book.

In many ways, it seems too extreme to be real. I haven't lived in my parents' house for 8 years, so I feel like I didn't know him very well. I missed so much of his growing up. It seems now that none of us knew him that well. I'm just numb - my boyfriend asks me daily if I want to talk, one of my best friends offered to spend the night this weekend. I turn them down because I don't know what to say. How do you talk about something your mind hasn't accepted yet? How do you deal with the fact everyone around you is watching you closely, trying to figure out if you're ok?

I have good memories of my brother, I only wish there were going to be more. Thank you all for your kind comments, cards, and phone calls.


jillian said...

Again, I'm so sorry. I can't imagine what this is like, shock and disbelief that is difficult to move past? Know that you are in my thoughts as you work through this.

Allison said...

My heart goes out to you and yours. It's a tragic loss to cope with.

Allison said...

Kate, I'm so so sorry. My sincere condolences to you and your family.

thursday said...

I'm sorry. Don't be afraid of your grief - or whatever else you might be feeling right now.

Have you ever read Joan Didion's "the year of magical thinking"? It might be too much right now, but someday... you might want to check it out.

gail said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. My step son killed himself three years ago. Both of them must have been very lonely, despite the reality.