Monday, June 27, 2011

Believing Peter

A young co-worker died last week. He died a graphic, violent death --- self inflicted.

Where does his family, his colleagues, his friends, go from here?

We bargain. We rationalize. We try to justify. We pull out the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross books and remind ourselves of the five stages of grief. Many of us stop at anger. Few of us make it all the way to acceptance. 

And along the way, I stumbled across the book "The Believing Brain" by Michael Shermer. An interesting book... that points out that maybe we all are constantly changing our belief systems to justify an act, a sight, a belief. Buried in this oft footnoted book is a wisdom - when we know an outcome, we write the script that leads up to that outcome. 

My colleagues are all writing their own scripts for Peter's death. I am, too. We all have help in that Peter left a suicide note for us. The note is both the first AND last chapter of our scripts. So we all have the Prelude and Postlude written. And each of us wants the last ten minutes of Peter back.  We each BELIEVE we could have helped him. 

We each, individually, rationalize Peter's death. Peter rationalized his death, too.

Some of us believe he was depressed. Many of us don't believe that. Some believe he was angry. The rest of us don't. Some believe he hurt someone and suffered guilt. Most of us don't. Some believe he was just a sensitive guy who mostly feared hurting others, feared life.

We each have a Believing Brain. Peter had his, too.

Peter's chair at work sits unused. His favorite pen sits alongside the computer keyboard. The mouse pad he brought from home (Star Trek!) still is there. Only his name has been removed from the workboard and schedule. We are all sharing his work load.

None of us can share his Believing Brain... 
No one can.


altadenahiker said...

I'm sorry, Brenda.

And I agree. We're hard-wired for patterns, we have no choice. And Peter, and others like Peter, found a pattern he couldn't live with and couldn't escape. That's how I script it, anyway.

Pat Tillett said...

I'm so sorry. That is terrible. It's so sad to think that a person has gotten to the point, where they feel like they would be better off dead. So sad...

Sandra said...

a few years back I was assisting with an overcomers program at church for people with addictions and abuse. a young woman with 3 teens came to all our meetings. we loved her. we thought she was doing great, she showed a happy face to us. one night she drove to the top of the skyway bridge and jumped to her death leaving her teens behind. one side of the church was full of our group and none of could believe it. no script to write, somethings just are and we are left to weep and wonder
my prayers are with you as you grieve

Banjo52 said...

Very sad business, Brenda. I hope you are doing OK with it. I like what you say about scripts, everyone with her or his own. The rolling road and the bridge are solemn, fitting photos.

Kathy said...

So sad for your sadness. I also love the pictures you used to illustrate your narrative.

Thérèse said...

So sorry Brenda.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

When David Wallace Foster killed himself, I romanticized it. When an old college friend did....well, nothing romantic about it. This reminds me to call Pat

Cyndi and Stumpy said...

I've always found walking to be medicinal, even when i was walking 10 miles a day for the USPS. I an't wait to be somewhere where I actually enjoy walking, again.

Happy, Waggin' Tails, FUREVER!
Stumpy and me