Somewhere, I have a box full of letters.
They used to all be in one notebook, a thousand years ago, but over time they’ve ripped loose from their spiral binding, and sit, hidden away in that box. I can look back on them and realize there was a point in my life where I thought I knew everything.
This was the sickest time in my life.
Each letter was a suicide note. I set out with a notebook, writing each letter to someone in my life. Some were merely sentences:
Dear Uncle Greg,
I’m sorry we didn’t get to know each other more. You seemed nice. Goodbye.
Some were rants that stretched on for pages about percieved wrongs the person had committed against me. Vitriol would spew forth about how their actions brought about my mental turmoil, and my eventual demise.
I swore to myself at the end of this notebook, when all the pages were full, I would kill myself.
But when the end of the notebook came, I realized I knew more people. And as the end of the next notebook came, I realized some of the letters weren’t quite right. That I could say it better. More powerfully. And I kept writing.
And it never ended. I never quit writing. I never quit filling up notebooks, until the day I got a laptop, and began filling that up instead.
At some point, I did not need to write letters anymore. I did not need to say goodbye, because I ceased to look at death as a way to “show them” and escape my suffering. I started seeing death as something that would hurt those around me more than I could bear to cause.
And then one day, a long time away from that first letter I ever wrote, I started to see death as something that would mean I would miss out.
I would miss out on my parents’ 50th anniversary.
I would miss out on having a child, and then seeing that child become an adult.
I would never get a chance to find that one true love of my life, or even prove to myself that person existed.
I would never get another chance to drive down the road with the windows open, “Safety Dance” playing on the radio, while I smiled at my good fortune to be out driving on such a beautiful day.
And a lot of experiences that could easily have been mistaken for mundane, if you’re not paying attention, would pass me by.
But I keep the letters. It reminds me what could happen if I close my eyes to this world and only let myself see inside my own head.