Wanting to Die


There are good days.

So so days.

Not good, but will make until tomorrow days.

Then there are I want to die days.

Not really die.

Well, some days I really do.

Sometimes wanting to die is a state of mind.

Other times the desire is as palpable as the heart beating in my chest.

Am I my mother’s son?

Will her suicidal path be mine?

Will a day come when I can no longer bear to endure another sunrise having not known the relief of sleep?

There are times that thoughts of suicide are a dark passenger, one that lurks in the shadows making itself known when the pain becomes unbearable.

Two of my sons are helping put in a gas line for our new stove.

Not really ours.

Polly’s dream stove.

I have a plan, but five hours later I tap out, admitting that the planned path from meter to stove will not work.

I wonder, do my sons think I am stupid, a feeble man who can no longer see every obstacle and a way to get around them and reach the objective?

I am no longer THAT man.

Gone is the man who could have his way with world.

Gone is the man who could work night and day until the project is completed.

Gone is the muscle, the brawn, the mental and physical wherewithal to have my way with whatever I set my hands or mind to.

I am left with the shell of the man I once was.

Pain, from the muscle bands attached to my skull to the joints in my feet and every place in between.

At best, narcotics provide a brief respite from the pain.

At worst, they are like taking aspirin for a migraine, like pissing into the wind of a hurricane.

As my oldest son finds a new route for the gas line, I go to the garage.

I am alone.

Really, really alone.

My sons don’t need me.

Without or without me the gas line will be finished and Polly will be in cooking heaven.

I bend over the bench in the garage and I weep.

Why won’t the pain stop?

Dumb question, I know the answer.

Do I want to live like this for another day?

I find this question hard to answer.

As I type this my entire body screams for deliverance, but I know only death will quell the screams.

Am I ready to die?

Today?

Now?

No, not today.

Not now.

I want to eat what Polly cooks on her new stove.

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29 Comments

  1. George

    Thanks for the website Bruce. It means a lot to me.

    Reply
  2. Beth

    Bruce – no words can express how much i wish I could take the pain away. Hang in there. Hugs to you and Polly.

    Reply
  3. Ruth

    {{{Hugs, gentle hugs}}}

    Reply
  4. Steve

    I’m so sorry, man

    But, you have to stay here, I need you to help keep me alive!! Suicide stalks me, too!!! (That & you have to be here to torment the IFBers as much as humanly possible!!)

    Reply
  5. mikespeir

    “I want to eat what Polly cooks on her new stove.”

    That’s why we all keep on living: we want to see what comes next. Hang in there, Bruce! You’re doing a good thing.

    Reply
  6. Mary Ellen

    Bruce… (((((((gentle hugs)))))))

    Reply
  7. PatF

    I know. I call it the rabbit hole. Fall in. Climb out.
    A whole lot of people and especially your family are waiting outside that rabbit hole ready to pull you up.

    Reply
  8. Ian

    We are here.

    Reply
  9. Heather

    It makes me both sad and irate that we have not found a successful remedy for this type of pain. It must be so bad for the sufferer and the people who love them feel so bad that there is nothing they can do to take away the pain.

    Reply
    1. Robt

      There are many “successful” (or at least viable for temporary respite) remedies – the “dangerous” and “scary” narcotics. Problem is, the government with it’s propaganda has most Americans believing that taking just ONE narcotic pain analgesic will turn that person into a raving criminal heroine addict. Worse than that is they monitor doctors and pharmacies so strictly through fear and coercion tactics that medical doctors and pharmacies UNDER prescribe it to those who would benefit from it. The government also has “recommended” dosages created by people who have never experienced pain at these levels for these lengths of time that amount to spitting on a bonfire.

      REAL patients suffer immensely for the actions of those who abuse these medications and the government, DEA and law enforcement have created and implemented ridicules and unreasonable requirements that make acquisition of these necessary and helpful medications near impossible. And when it is possible, it’s an inadequate amount and with added steps, hardships and difficulties like requiring unnecessary office visits t the doctor, requiring doctors to physically write out a paper prescription etc. I can not call my doctor to ask for a refill for a medication I’ve been taking for 12+ years … due to DEA regulations/recommendations my medications dosage was REDUCED 25% to meet federal guidelines because even though my regular dosage was just fine under previous regulations, my pharmacy (and I ALWAYS go to the same one) can’t won’t fill it at the previous dosage (the amount I had taken legally and safely for 12 years).

      It’s really disgusting and the exasperating futility is soul crushing.

      Reply
  10. Gene Stephens

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful post, Bruce. Know that there are a lot of people whose lives have been wonderfully enriched by your blog and who really care about you.

    Reply
  11. Appalachian Agnostic

    Pain sucks.

    Reply
  12. JustinCredible

    What’s three times better than Polly’s cooking? Polly cooking three times!

    Reply
  13. Geoff

    Don’t know what to say, mate. You’re an inspiration to so many and I hope you hang on in.

    Reply
  14. Robt

    I find it worse when I have nothing else to focus on … EXCEPT the pain … in those moments, it seems an unbearable eternity. And not that I have mentally “given up” but more that I’m just tired … SO damn tired of the non-stop pain … that I think, why not just be done with it. I love my girlfriend, my friends, family and pets. They, of course, all have no idea that these types of thought even enter my mind … actually, I think my dogs know at times … much like my old dog, who was blind, crippled and then went deaf was paralyzed by fear but when I pick him up, he was clearly relieved and reassured yet still looked at me with that “I can’t do this another day and I know you can’t hold me forever” look.

    It hurts … but …

    Just hold off for another day …

    … another hour …

    … another minute …

    until … one of the dogs barks to get on the bed … momentarily, my focus is shifted to the little blind shih tzu (a different dog than previously mentioned) … his nick name is “The Demander” ™ … i throw off the covers to painfully hoist him up to a spot between me and my slumbering mate before he bark/howls again and wakens her. I can’t focus on the pain this moment because I’m distracted by making sure he doesn’t try to burrow into my sleeping girlfriend’s back and wake her. That one little act … knowing that dog would drive my girlfriend batty if I wasn’t here to intervene is all it takes … tonight. Tomorrow is another day … yes, more pain … but also more distraction by loved ones – be they human or animal – that would be devastated if I wasn’t there. So on it goes …

    Hang in there Bruce – I feel your pain. My experience is similar – what you ultimately choose is your business should you ever choose deliverance. I will have been honored to have had the opportunity to experience your wisdom. To live or die is brave, regardless. Most people despite their words of sympathy/empathy have no idea how difficult each moment is with chronic pain … it often isn’t the pain itself, it’s the relentless futility that wears at me (us?). Most people can only reference a moment in time when they’ve experience some high level of pain for a time … and despite the fact that they KNOW it is unpleasant, they can never really appreciate that relentlessness.

    My GF tweaked her back and was hobbled for about a week of serious discomfort and disability …she learned first hand that just rolling over in bed or trying to tie a shoe was a MAJOR production and required massive effort and concentration to avoid aggravating her injury … I felt horrible for her during that week … but I could not refrain from pointing out “Now imagine knowing it never ends” … she finally got a glimpse of what it’s like for me every minute of every day … for well over a decade. On one hand, I was glad she had this eye-opening experience … on the other hand, I wish I could have taken her pain for myself so she would NEVER feel as I do … I’m use to it, she isn’t – and I don’t ever want her to get use to it. One of us is enough.

    But they DO need us Bruce, maybe not in the ways of the past, but as that reassuring, stabilizing force, that voice of experience and wisdom that can impart pearls of wisdom for the asking … but only if you’re there to be asked. Being available and not “needed” is still better than “I wish father/grandfather/husband etc. was here, he knew how to do this, He could guide me through this moment” … yeah, they need us Bruce.

    Disclaimer: I hope this comment reads the way it sounded/felt coming out of my head – it’s intent is for support , sympathy/empathy and appreciation – but also understanding of the thoughts of moments such as these regardless of whatever should follow. Thanks Bruce, As always, I look forward to reading your words and viewing your photography.

    ~ Robert

    Reply
  15. Carmen

    Bruce, that post made MY joints ache. Speaking of joints, I’d bring ya some but those border patrol guys scare the bejesus out of me. .. I can hear them now, “I knew when I took one look at her face, she’d never have tampons in that case . . . ” 🙂

    Reply
  16. Anne

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Bruce. Strange how someone sharing their own pain and dark thoughts can be just what the dr ordered when one is struggling with their own. I appreciate your internet prescence in my life so much!

    Reply
  17. Zoe

    Tears.

    Reply
  18. Becky Wiren

    I imagine Polly’s cooking is such a transcendent experience, that it helps with the pain. (HUG)

    Reply
  19. Darren

    Hey Bruce:

    I don’t use the word ‘friend’ lightly, but I do consider you a friend. Someone who listens, someone who encourages, someone who despite their own pain, finds the strength and compassion to care for others.

    When I found your blog, I was still coming out of depression. I was really thankful to find this place of fellow travelers, of people who found faith lacking, but in the absence of god, found something beautiful and good. All of this gave me a little hope.

    I can’t know all of your pain. Please know that there are a lot of people who think you’re awesome

    I wish that I could go see a Reds game at your Great American ballpark, I’d love the opportunity to hang with you, drink overpriced beer, while watching men run around the field wearing tight pants. We wouldn’t have to talk about anything big, or existential. Just enjoying a day at the ballpark. We would be enjoying the church of baseball. This is still my favorite church.

    With that said, if you ever want to come to Boaton to catch a game, know that you’re always welcome here. Would love to have you.

    Thinking of you,
    Darren

    Reply
  20. Kittybrat

    Your honesty is what makes this post so compelling, Bruce. Oh, yeah.

    Reply
  21. Mark

    Bruce, sorry to hear about your pain and troubles with your project today.

    Speaking as a father with 2 grown sons who can get the project done while I go look for a tool. It seeks to good training from their father when they where growing up. Enjoy the fruits of your training.

    Look forward too reading your posts each day.

    Reply
  22. Tara

    Resist it for as long as you can, with as much grace as you can. Try not to lose hope. Let your family rise to the occasion as circumstances require. This is also what you raised them to do, I would assume. Don’t forget- You are still a useful and powerful force, just in a different way. I hope you get some relief soon, if even for a spell. I’m really sorry you’re experiencing this, Bruce.

    Reply
  23. Mark

    … My wife would like to know about Polly’s dream stove sometime. No rush. It may cause a brousing trip to the local appliance store. She has been looking for years but the current one does not give out.

    Your wife is one lucky woman.

    Thanks for all you do.

    Reply
    1. Jada

      I’m curious about Polly’s dream stove, too.

      Reply
  24. Brian

    Hey Bruce, a strong expression of pain and so much abandonment. It must seem especially rough to you that Jeebus saved you but didn’t and Gawd eats your potatoes for snack-fun while you are wracked with pain. I am so sorry you lost your mom to suicide. I won’t press you for details but I know that this loss and this abandonment lives in you as part of the misery you endure. You are a brave man and have already chosen a path that ruggedly forces life rather than non-life. You have said no to fantasy and chosen to be honest with yourself about faith in God. I wish you could just throw off the legacy of self-destruction that your mom left you but legacies are foundational in us.
    All I can say now is thank-you for what you have accomplished, for saying it as it is from the heart and mind. I admire your courage and your ability to hold to the truth without weapons aimed. You hang in there.
    And by the way, I have had chronic back pain in the latter years (my 60’s) that responded very well to cannabis in a tincture. A small dose near bedtime just melted away my pain and gave me comfort to sleep. I have only taken it a few times but they have been successful. If I had back pain again, that did not allow me to rest and broke me down, I would certainly try the cannabis again.
    Oh, and you are right that your sons do no need you. When you love someone and set them freely into the world, they do not need you but they love you, and they cherish who you are…. I am not saying you are not alone because obviously in pain, you are alone. But you are not abandoned now. You have many people who admire you and those who love you very much; that is clear. Day by day, your pain may come to the fore and lead you into misery but day by day, your strength comes through in your writing and heartfelt words. Thank-you, Bruce.

    Reply
  25. Karen

    I’m tongue-tied next to the eloquent commenters who’ve written already. All I can offer is hugs. I hope, when the time does come that you choose to check out, that you can do so with dignity in relative comfort, with the help of medicines and the company of those you love. I also hope that time doesn’t come for a long while. Yours is a necessary voice in the world, and we would be much impoverished without it.

    Reply
  26. Jada

    I wish Ohio had medical marijuana, Bruce. Sometimes it helps when nothing else Big Pharma can throw at it will.

    Reply
    1. Becky Wiren

      There are a couple of groups trying to bring an amendment in Ohio to permit legalizing marijuana. So there is hope, if one can hold out. Of course even if the amendment is approved (with legal number of signatures) then there has to be a vote in November. So we will see.

      Reply

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