The Way Things Are






Lifelong depression. Most likely suicide
2005-03-29, 9:43 a.m.

Lifelong depression. Most likely suicide. Identified by dental records.

My brother told me that Fred had suffered from severe depression much of his life. This is something that his immediate family was very familiar with, but of course, not me or my parents or anybody outside the inner circle. From what he told me, this didn't come out of left field for Fred's parents and sister. I think it was less of a shock to them as it was to the rest of us.

So they had last been in contact with him about 10 days ago, and his parents kept in regular touch with him, one of the reasons for which is that he suffered from depression and they wanted to keep in touch and make sure all was well. After a few days of not being able to get a hold of him (he was fanatical about answering his cell phone), they had a friend of his in Dallas do some poking around. This friend eventually climbed the fire escape to Fred's apartment and could see the TV was on and it looked like somebody should be home. He called 911 (this was Sunday night), and the rest is history.

My brother told me that when Fred's parents had been unable to find him for a couple of days, a tiny voice in their mind made them wonder if this was finally it.

Anyway, the things you never know about people. I felt a little better after talking to Bro, knowing that Fred’s parents had already faced this possibility, rather than suffering such a blow out of the blue, and having to deal with "what could we have done to help him?" I think they had done everything they could. It makes me wonder if he had attempted it before, or had been threatening it, or even if he had been hospitalized recently.

I think there will be an autopsy (Bro said the body wouldn't be released for a few weeks), but from what he said, it's just a matter of how he did it, but there's really no question in any of their minds that it was suicide.

I found Fred's page on, and saw that he hadn't worked in the movies for about 3 or 4 years. I asked my mom about this, and said I wondered what else I didn't know about this guy, and she said that the last time she had talked to him, that he had told her he was doing something else. She can't remember what. And then she wondered if his sexual orientation had anything to do with his depression. Which is just like my mom - let's wrap it up in a neat little package, and label it. That way she doesn't have to worry about it as much, i.e. only gay people get depression and commit suicide. I let her know that although I'm sure being gay is a tough life, that I know plenty of gay people who haven't committed suicide. Argh. That's like finding out somebody has cancer, and asking, "Is she a smoker? Well, that's the reason right there, then." The need to simplify things, I guess.

Well, I didn’t mean to turn this into a rant about my mom. She means well, and she would never judge a gay person or smoker as “bad”, but she does make judgments. I believe people of her generation try to compartmentalize events, catalog, label, and try to avoid thinking that bad things happen to all kinds of people, not just gay people and smokers.

In other news, our stupid effing dog woke me up at 2:45 this morning. She was crying, oh so pitifully. Not the kind of deranged crying and yodeling she does when the ambulance goes by, but a plaintive “help me” cry. I tried to ignore her, because fuck that noise, it’s the middle of the night. After 30 minutes of off-n-on whining, I let her out of her crate and opened the back door to let her out, because obviously she must either (1) need to pee or poop or vomit or (2) need to bark at something outside. She ran outside and I could see her peeing and peeing and peeing out there, and when she was done, she trotted back up the front door, feinted right, and ran back up along the fence line. Bad mistake, Miss Penny. I slammed the door shut, so that she and the rest of the house could share in my frustration, and left her outside. As I got back into bed, DW, who sleeps through tsunamis and Armageddon, and such, asked what was going on, and I said only “If she barks, I’m going to shoot her.”

OH MY GOD – just got this email from my mom:

“Hi guys,

[Bro] called last night. They had apparently received a preliminary report
from the Medical Examiner who does not believe [Fred] committed suicide. He
thinks it was an accidental overdose of anti-depressants and alcohol… “

I never could have imagined that this would be good news, but in the right context, an accidental overdose kicks suicide’s ass.

And in other othernews, today is SIL’s birthday. Yesterday was Uncle Fred’s nephew’s birthday, today is Fred’s sister’s birthday. This just fucking sucks, in the kind of way that few things are able to fucking suck. But doesn’t that kind of tell you that maybe this really wasn’t suicide? I mean, I know that suicide is an act of callous disregard for the survivors (among other things – it’s many things, but that is one of them), but I knew Fred, and he didn’t have devil horns or 666 scrawled on his forehead. Nobody with any shred of decency or humanity would commit suicide in time to crap on his nephew and sister’s birthdays.

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