In Memorium


We held a memorial for Toby today and planted a sequoia tree for him. I spoke these words to him: 

Toby, my brother, pieces of the suffering that you could no longer bear are now embedded within all of us gathered here today. And we will bear it for you to the ends of the earth, my friend–because you were a part of something much greater than only yourself. You were part of a family, part of a community, part of a world so intertwined that your passing is felt by everyone connected to you like a wind blowing down from the Sierras, cold, powerful, and desolate. We need each other, Toby–we needed you, and there is an emptiness where you once stood in our lives. And in this place we will plant the memories of what was beautiful in your life and in all of our lives. Out of the scars of this suffering will grow a new and deeper love, and it will be in your name. Because something like this draws us all together even stronger against despair. Despite all of our differences, and all of our own personal histories, we are one, we are forever tied to each other as one, and everything we choose to do has a powerful effect on everybody. I know that you didn’t mean to hurt us. So now I must say goodbye to you in one sense, Toby, but you will never really leave us. I love you, brother, and I will remember you for what was good in your heart.

It was a powerful event, his family was there and people who had worked at camp at various different times. When people come together like this to mourn someone’s life, it’s a powerful demonstration of how interconnected we are, how someone choosing to take their own life tears into our connecting fabric, it rips a big fucking hole in all of us. How we are not alone, we are never alone, even in our darkest hour everyone we know is there. This is why it hurts so much–because he took us all into that room with him and we all had to sit down and watch him string himself up and he couldn’t hear us screaming at him and we couldn’t do anything to stop him.

Sometimes it takes something like this to show you how important everyone in your life is to you.

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Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

3 thoughts on “In Memorium”

  1. I really feel the intense pain you feel through your poignant words. I’m so sorry that this happened to you, and that your brother was living in such a hell that he felt he had no choice but to do what he did. I have a really strong visual image of the entire scene you wrote of. You are an excellent writer.

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