The Day Time Stopped
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
I usually try to start of my posts lighthearted or a good toddler moment. This post I cannot seem to find anything to joke about. I have searched deep within me and all I find is tears. I have questions but no answers. My life has been changed yet again forever. The quote above couldn’t be more fitting for this life event.
There are many dates that are in my little book of life that I keep tucked away in the deep recesses of my mind. The day September 3, 2014 is another day that will never be forgotten. That day was the Wednesday of the same week that we got back from being with Levi and his family in Arkansas. I was slowly beginning to decompress from that situation. Adjusting back to daily life in Albuquerque was underway. I missed him more than I ever imagined. It was back to being a long distant relative.
I was trying to get the house back in some type of order from us leaving in such a hurry. I was washing and folding clothes with nothing specifically planned for the day. I recognize the sound of facebook messenger alerting me to a message. A mutual friend told me that she needed to talk to me ASAP. So, I half way drop what I was doing and said, “What’s up?” Not knowing or worrying about the answer that would come back. “Hey, I have a friend that said that he wants to ‘end it all,’ she said. I said, “What’s going on?” I didn’t ask for a name because I didn’t see the relevance at the time. Instantly, the therapist side of me is at attention. She asked, “Do you know a guy on facebook by the name of Kyle Brewer?” I told her very quickly, “Of course I do. We went to school together some in elementary and middle school, why?” Apparently, I couldn’t seem to do math because I didn’t see the correlation as to why the question was asked. She said, “It’s him that’s saying that.” I still didn’t worry because we had just spent some time with him as a family on our recent nightmarish visit to Petal, MS. We had gone out to his house and spent time talking and laughing. I told her not to worry that he would respond to either me or Mel.
Kyle and I were also alike in the sense that we both love to find the funny in just about anything. We were always finding rude, inappropriate but yet hysterically funny things on Facebook and sharing them with each other. He had a some
what perverted style of humor that most would find distasteful. He and I were able to enjoy some good laughs over a snow cone or two. He also adored Marshall.
He wasn’t responding to me or Mel in any way. I instantly knew that my friend was in trouble. I’m usually not very ‘jumpy’ about suicide threats. But, in my gut, something told me this situation was different. This mutual friend of ours had also been trying to get in touch with him all morning. She was in another state and so was I. Why did he pick her to tell? Because he knew she was too far away to do anything about it. That’s just my hypothesis. And he also didn’t specifically mention wanting to ‘end it all’ because he knew what profession and obligations I would have if he did say something.
We began discussing what we needed to do. In the meantime, the only thing I could think to do was to grasp at straws by putting a message out on Facebook for him to call me. I think the message actually read something like, “Kyle Brewer, pick up your damn phone and call me right now!” The minute I hit send and it was posted he contacted me through messenger.
I told our mutual friend that I was currently talking to him and to go ahead and call 911. I told her, “If he gets mad at you, then he’ll be mad at me because he knows you don’t know where he lives. And if he gets mad, as long as, he’s alive he can get over it. But, if he was dead he would no longer have that option.” I tell her that she has to tell the dispatch verbatim the way I tell her to tell them how to get to his house because it was located way out. She calls and soon tells me that dispatch is heading out there to do a welfare check just to make sure he’s ok. They also tell her that when they know something they will let her know.
While all of that was going on, I was desperately trying to talk to Kyle. What was said between us is something that I will only discuss with my therapists. The point is that as long as he’s talking, he’s not dead. I share some very personal stuff with him and ask him questions. He finally tells me, “I’m tired. Thanks for the talk!!!!” It was at this point, that I knew that Kyle was no longer able to keep the mask that many of us use everything we have to keep it in place anymore. We were both talking from our hearts without humor. That was the last time I ever had contact with him.
It was a couple of hours later when our mutual friend messaged me and said, “Dana, we need to talk.” My blood ran cold; my heart began to shatter and my stomach was turning like I was on a ride at a theme park. I already knew. She said, “Dana, he’s dead.” At that moment, time seemed to stop.
Fortunately, Mel was here with me and Marshall was still at daycare. I began sobbing like a small child. I couldn’t make sense of anything. My greatest fear was that the emergency services wouldn’t make it there in time. This seemed to be the reality for the moment. All of my senses seemed to disappear. My tears felt like they were coming from every pore in my body. Mel just sat, held me and let me cry. At that moment, there was nothing else that could be done.
We did find out later that the emergency services did make it to his house in time. He greeted them in the yard like nothing was wrong. There probably didn’t seem like a reason to stop him from going back into his house. He told them he had to run back inside and would be right back out. He went back in his house, locked the door and shot himself. He was one of them. He was a volunteer firefighter that probably knew many of the people that arrived to check on him. He used the mask to both his favor and detriment. I lost my friend to a term called PRIDE.
Kyle Brewer was like many of us ‘clowns.’ We all seem to have it together because we can make people laugh. Take a moment and try to imagine what my friend Kyle would’ve looked like if we had been able to turn him inside out. I bet you wouldn’t see anything but a heart full of love for those he loved mixed with the tears of what he knew was about to happen. EVERYONE has demons and secrets. He just didn’t see the other side where there could be light instead of darkness.
Even now, I selfishly shed tears because I’ve lost yet another friend by violent means. I also cry for his family of EMS workers and biological family. He will never be able to carry out his duty as an uncle, son, brother or husband because of one decision. I don’t hate nor am I mad at him. He was my friend and I will continue to grieve his loss.
I have now been involved in just about every angle of suicide as both a teenager and as an adult. Has this one event changed me? You bet it has! I question everything I said to him. I’m constantly re-reading our last conversation. And, I question my ability as a professional. What my head understands, my heart can’t comprehend.
I’ve had people contact me through various ways thanking me for what we did to help. I can’t help but to very angrily think, “I did nothing! He’s still dead! We all lost!” I wish I could see things differently right now, but I can’t. I take their nice comments and say thank you like I was taught many years ago. But, I will probably be forever haunted by “The Day Time Stopped.”