I got a call from The Daughter this morning, asking if I could make other arrangements for Riley. She had been crying. I started to ask what was going on when she blurted out, “SIL’s brother shot himself at 1:00 AM. He’s dead.” SIL’s brother is just a few months younger than YS. He’s always been a pretty good kid. He did his share of drinking and smoking pot, but nothing extreme. Whenever I saw him, he was always a happy guy. YS and he used to hang out a bit when they were in high school, even though he was a grade behind YS. According to The Daughter, unbeknown to them, the boy had some bipolar issues. He wasn’t on medication or anything, but he’d struggled with depression off and on. SIL’s mother was awakened by the smoke detector going off. She went down the hall to ask her son if he was smoking. He answered through his locked door, “no Mom, I’m dying. I’m sorry. I’m dying.” She tried to break the door down, but only succeeded in putting a hole in it. His friend was outside, apparently trying to talk to him on the phone, when he heard the gunshot. He tried to break in, also unsuccessfully. I don’t know how they finally got in, but it was too late. He had shot himself in the heart. I don’t know if it was with one of his hunting rifles or a handgun. It doesn’t matter. It’s a huge tragedy. SIL is not doing well, and I can only imagine how his mother is doing. I’m going to go see her shortly. According to the friend, SIL’s brother had talked of suicide several times before, but his friends had always managed to talk him out of it. They never told anyone else, though. His mother had no clue he was suicidal. It sucks. I hate suicide. As The Spouse said, you can handle someone dying in an accident, or from a disease, but suicide has so much baggage attached to it. Those left behind are left feeling guilty, asking themselves so many questions, wondering why they didn’t see what was going on, couldn’t stop it. I still wonder if there was anything I could have done to keep my mom from shooting herself. I know SIL, all his sisters, and his mother, will wonder that same thing for the rest of their lives. It sucks. The grandkids don’t know yet. They slept through SIL’s mother, stepfather, and sisters arriving at their house at 1:00 AM, and all the ensuing commotion. The Daughter wants to wait until school is out to tell them, and to figure out how to tell a 6 and 9 year-old that their 21 year-old uncle is dead, without going into the gory details of how he died. YS is going to pick them up after school and bring them to our house to play video games. Their Shih Tzu, Lola, will come over and keep Riley company at our house today. I will go find SIL’s mom and offer whatever comfort I can – after I cry with SIL. He was his only brother, and though they were 12 years apart, and not close in recent times, they were brothers. How do you lose a sibling this way? How do you lose a son this way and go on living? I can’t – I don’t want to – even imagine it. Eventually, life will resume in some sort of normal fashion, but for the next several days a lot of questions will be asked, few will be answered, and we will all grieve a young man with a great smile, a twinkle in his eye, and a lot of potential, who couldn’t endure the pain he struggled with for one second longer. Suicide sucks.