What if I had killed myself?…What if?
It was a blistery cold day in January 1997 when I undid the seatbelt. Gradually I hammered down on the pedal and aimed the car at the concrete barrier holding up a bridge. I had decided that I would end my life by slamming into an overpass on I-95 in Massachusetts. But instead, I straightened out and passed the barrier still at a high rate of speed angrily, confused and in tears. Defiantly refusing to snap the seat belt back on, I drove home.
I drove to my apartment where months before I’d arrive to a budding life with my young family. R**** and I were young couple that had children while in High School. We were feisty, vibrant and full of immaturity. It was a combination that fueled our fights. Did we love each other? I guess as much as two people think they love from teenage years into their early twenties. Now as a man in my forties, I can say unequivocally that we had no clue as to what love really was. To be fair, I’ll say that I didn’t. However, we had two beautiful children in S******** and M***. They were two children that needed adult parents and not a couple of immature people playing house. Our children deserved better from us. They weren’t abused or lacked thanks to our supportive family but R**** and I provided bad examples of yelling and a lack of self control. We tried many times with the same result. I’d move back to my parents and see the kids every other day. This time, she had found someone and I found myself without hope.
It was twenty years ago that I went to the brink only to come back to my senses. It would have been a senseless act to take my life and cheat my friends, family and myself. What would have been an act of desperation and hopelessness was adverted. And I don’t regret it at all. You see, I’ve had a wonderful last twenty years. I’ve cried plenty of tears of joy, sadness and happiness…. traveled though life’s peaks and valleys… experienced sorrow and pain….shared in laughter and ecstasy. You see, it has been an Extraordinary Ordinary life indeed.
If for whatever reason, you are at your wits end and you think suicide is the way out. Don’t do it, the best revenge you can take is a life well led. Had I slammed into that barrier, I really can’t say what would have happened. It could have been lights out or I could be sipping liquid meals through a straw. Who knows what if?
Because I didn’t, I have lived an extraordinary ordinary life. I’ve shared in deep conversations with my daughter. I helped prepare my son for manhood. People I’ve known have told me they admire my life, the places I’ve been, the friendship I give. My generosity and advice doesn’t go unnoticed. Yes, ordinary me has made a difference. And no, I don’t want to pat myself on the back because I’ve made plenty (and I mean plenty) of mistakes and screw ups. The last twenty years have not been all roses but there has been more better days than bad days. In short….life has been good.
Please reconsider any thoughts you may have for a permanent solution. Yes, life is unfair and we all don’t have the same opportunities. But we do have the power to make choices. And regardless of how bad the situation may be. Take a chance on living an extraordinary ordinary life. You can do it, I’m living proof.
Top Pictures: Me at age one, Summer of 1997 and 2009 with my children.