The first guy I'd known from biology class in ninth grade. He was a football player on our school's team; it was a bad team, laughingstock of the entire district, and as far as I can remember, we never won our Homecoming games while I was there. I didn't know him well. Overall, I just thought of him as one of the more cheerful, less jockish sort of football players. He was very sporty of course, but also fairly bright and had a nice smile; sometimes he would make idiotic comments and questions in class, but he played it for the laughs than for an actual response from the teacher. He also had a way of carrying himself and walking that reminded me of a lumberjack, to be honest. I never really saw him again after ninth grade's bio class, except in the halls, where he'd sometimes say hi to me.
He committed suicide in my tenth grade year. Overdose by pills. Everyone was shocked. So was I, even though i didn't know him well; he was a cheery sort of guy, after all, but I think we all know by now that tons of depressed teens can put on a cheerful face but feel like shit inside.
My mom, in any case, called me this morning, about 30 minutes before I started writing this blog -- 8:48 AM -- and told me she was flying back to Taiwan today because my uncle (in his 40s) had committed suicide and my grandmother was in the hospital. She's flying back to help take care of affairs and to maybe convince my grandmother to come to the US with her. We'll see if that works.
There's a bit of a story behind this, by the way. My uncle is, in the words of my mother, someone who has never grown up. No college degree, he basically floated through jobs and a few girlfriends throughout most of his life, in between getting into fights in the streets when he was in HS. When I was younger, I also had the impression he was something of a player, but that was because my younger like ... 7-9 year old self was just bitter about him breaking up with his first gf, whom I'd taken a liking to. I was pretty horrible to his second gf, but little bitter kids will be little bitter kids. Anyways, he actually has only really had three gfs, so not that much of a player after all. He smoked (tried to quit several times, I would always tell him to whenever I saw him) and was unfortunately a bit looser with his wallet than he should have been. He was also a lot of fun to be around though -- very chill, knew all the good food places in Taipei, was a little too eager to buy stuff for me ... overall, great with kids, which is why I loved him so much ever since I was really young.
The last time I saw him was around three years ago when my grandfather died of lung disease. My mother and I flew back to Taiwan to help with affairs and to comfort my grandmother, who was very badly hit by my grandfather's death, crying every night and asking us what she's supposed to do now that he's gone. My uncle at the time had a pretty stable job and a third gf; she was a flight attendant, very nice and polite. There'd been talks about the two of them getting married and them having a kid. It looked like he was getting things into order, finally growing up a little, as my mom put it.
Fast forward one year, he has a stroke, loses most motor abilities, and loses his job and gf as a result. Rehabilitation is successful though; he can walk again. But it's hard to find another job; if you're over 40 in Taiwan and unemployed, dear fuck, it is hard to get a job. Every time I ask my mom how he is, she tells me that he's still job-searching and had moved in with my grandmother again; in fact, he'd pretty much always lived with my grandmother.
Fast forward another year, and he's dead.
In a way, his suicide makes a lot of sense when you look at his life, but still I can't help but wonder what the fuck was going through his mind when he decided on this course of action. If nothing else, he should've been thinking about my fucking grandmother, who's still not over my grandfather's death and is constantly worried about my mom in the US (long story short, my mom is sickly and severely underweight) and is basically, at this point, chronically depressed. I guess he thought he was relieving her of his burden or something, but just because I can understand his reasoning doesn't mean I don't think it's still fucking stupid and the most selfish thing he's ever done in his life. She still cries every night, you see.
Anyways, I don't know how he went; I didn't ask my mom that. He was my favorite uncle though. It hurts a lot, because I really loved him just as I really loved my grandfather, but that's life, and it must go on. I just hope that my grandmother's strong enough to carry through.