Sex Abuse, Phones, Suicide

Tonight I am unable to shake the memories of a conversation I had with a friend last year. It is more like an internal haunting. The conversation I had with my friend (R) reminded me of two other conversations I had with other friends (f) and (D).

Conversations about the tormenting ongoing agony of experiencing victimization. The child physical and sexual abuse that we all shared, perpetrated by different people in different spaces. Our experiences so different but the spiritual scars so similar. Every one of these three friends and conversations is about life and death. Tragic stories. My friends dead.

I am left with so many questions…

First the back story:

I was 17 (21 years ago) and nearly completed an 18 month sentence in juvenile detention. My friend (R) called me at the center to tell me our close friend (F) hung himself. My friend (F) who killed himself told me several times when we were younger why he wanted to die sometimes, we both trusted one another with our secret suicidal ideation and the abuse and pain that wouldn’t go away.

(This poem was written when I was 17, then edited and added to in 2012)

Ganged Brothersa.Screen Shot

Gang Brothers b.Screen Shot

(R) and I never talked for years, and years. Then last year (R) called out of the blue. He wanted to change his life. And he said “Daniel you are the only one in our circle of friends who climbed out of the hole we grew up in.  You understand me and I trust you like a brother. I want to kill myself. I can’t live like this another day.”

We talked about sex abuse and beatings and the crazy violent years we shared. He was hurting so badly, and secretly so was I. He was drunk, and I was sober, for twelve years. I invited him to get help and then he could come stay with me and clean up instead of suicide.  “ok. I will be there in a week,” (R) said excitedly.

He never did show up.

(R) called again a few weeks later pissed drunk and said “I am finished. I can’t keep living like this anymore. With this. I am done Daniel. I had to call you because I know you are the only one who really knows me and understands me. We been through the same shit.”

He reminded me of the conversation we had years ago after he was convicted of raping a girl.

“Daniel, you were the only one who sat with me and told me to my face what you thought of it honestly. You did that without telling me I was a piece of shit. You understood why I did it. If I even did it. Hell I don’t even remember if I did. But I do know I could have done it. It was done to me. You know that Daniel. You know what those bastards did to me. When you told me our friendship had to end but you will always love me. You were the only one who ever did that.”

I couldn’t lie to (R)  because I loved him, and I sure as shit could not lie to him last year when he called me on the phone disclosing that he could not continue living anymore. I did know in my heart why he wanted to die. It made sense. It was logical.

When you live with the memories of being a victim of child sexual abuse and physical abuse, which we both suffered and cannot trust anyone, or feel close to anyone, life feels pretty pointless. Its awful feeling like the world is pitted against you and the pressure inside the skull hurts so much you just want to die for relief. I understood the issues and thoughts (R) was describing. All of the stress from dealing with perpetrating abuse on top of all the abuse he had endured must have been way to much to deal with. I know I would have killed myself if I had to deal with that. I am glad I never did those ‘things.’ I was sad and hurt that he did. I watched my mother get beat and raped. That was an unforgivable act. I knew (R)’s spiritual tearing was very deep.

I couldn’t lie to him.

“Dude, you know I won’t lie to you. I love you. I often think sometimes that dying would have been easier than what I’ve had to live through in order to get to where I am. I lived for years on end in sheer emotional and mental agony, and suicidal, just to get to a place where I do actually want to live everyday. It would have been easier to die, but I had chosen to live. It does get better. It takes a long time, but it can happen. It ain’t easy bro.”

We talked a little longer. (R) said he had to end it all. I told him that I would miss him and that he knew I trusted him to do what he needed to do out of necessity and not malice. He just wanted the pain to stop. Me and (R) understood each other deeply. We both cried and said “goodbye.”

Soon after (R) was gone. He died blue, in a house that I used to party in when we were young.

When I got the news that (R) was gone, I was instantly reminded of a time when I was (D)’s twelve step sponsor. He was a former white supremacist skinhead. He would often call me upset that he couldn’t stay clean. He was proud he was not being violent or racist. That was a big accomplishment for him. But the benzos had him by the balls. Then one night he called me and said he was going to get high instead of meeting me like we planned the week before. I gave him alternatives. He declined. We got off phone.

(D) called back later that evening, he told me that he was going to kill himself. We talked awhile. He said that I understood him like no one else had. (D) said his hatred burns so deep because of the abuse he suffered and he couldn’t continue living and putting his parents through more hell with his addiction. I had to be honest with him. I was sad about his decision, but I could relate to his feelings. I explained to him that I could be there for him as long as he lives to the best of my ability. But we both knew I could not relieve what ailed him. He was calm cool and collected. I know why he felt he had to do it.

I told him I would miss him and asked him not too do it. But he had too.He said good-bye and hung up the phone. I was standing there in my kitchen crying. I knew he was slipping away.

He overdosed hours later in a hotel room. That was eight years ago.

…My questions:

Why did I survive?

How did I end up being the go-to “goodbye” friend?

Why am I still alive?

Will living get easier when I am in a silent room alone?

Will the memories of my screaming bloody raped mother ever leave my mind and body?

Will the pain of my childhood bruised face ever heal?

Will my bruised ribs ever heal, so I do not have to continue breathing memories of constant short breathes?

Will I ever dream in peace?

Will I ever be loved enough that someone wants to be next to me everyday in the most vulnerable ways?

Will it be possible to find a person to be a constant in my life every night?

Is it possible to meet someone who does not intentionally or inadvertantly hurt me?

Where are my three friends now?

Will I see them again?

Or is it only in my words that I am able to help them heal through my healing?

Do I miss them?

Or do I miss the connections I shared with them?

…so many questions, but the biggest one…

How and why have I survived this long?

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About Daniel Gallant

Daniel is a social worker (MSW,RSW) and is a current student of law, who is also an emerging writer and has been published internationally in literary journals. Poetry is his primary creative processing tool, and also has published creative non-fiction (auto-biographic). He has a B.A. in First Nations Studies. I am a consultant for media, scholars, and government bodies about violent right wing extremism in Canada and a trained counsellor; Daniel offers services to individuals seeking to leave violent extremist lifestyles, and facilitates public speaking on matters of resiliency. Daniel presents Scholars from the Underground Blog in order to promote transformation and to contribute to create safe spaces in society for true cultural transformation. Canada has to move from a racist nation to an inclusionary society. We are blessed to live in a space and time where we can now talk openly about these social issues. Daniel welcomes you to is Blogosphere.

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