December 2, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Alex has been crying for three days, and I know why. She has experienced three tremendous losses in her life recently, and she suffers. We all suffer, although I believe she feels her grief so deeply and profoundly she will hold it the longest. We talk, but she can not hear, she goes to her room and listens to music. I respect her alone time, at least for now.

When I started this journal in August, I committed to share all the events, important and not so important, in Alex’s life for a year. Up until this past week, this has been easy. Although it was very sad to write about Lucy and Grandpa’s deaths, it did feel like part of the life cycle.

This entry, about our most recent loss, is the first time I have struggled to fulfill my promise. I am tempted to ignore my commitment and avoid a very ugly entry – but I will not.

I will share all the events of Alex’s life – good, bad and ugly.

Never did I think I would be recounting something as horrible as I will now be sharing. I hope this is the ugliest thing my family ever has to go through. This tragedy concerns our 40 year old friend Tim; he ended his life a week ago.

Tim moved out to CO the year after us. He was a very talented tennis pro from our tennis club in IL. Tim loved to snowboard and had always aspired to be in the mountains. When he discovered we had relocated he asked me to research local tennis clubs. Once he set his mind to move, he was able to get a job as a head pro fairly quickly.

For the next two years, Tim taught tennis, snowboarded and enjoyed the CO lifestyle. We spent lots of time with him. This included his three month stint as our house guest when he first relocated. He shared holidays with us, and “escaped” to our house whenever he needed a break. Tim was John’s loyal river rafting companion. He grew on us and my kids adored him.

TPT as we called him, for tennis pro Tim, gave Alex tennis lessons, came to her plays and really connected with her. When Alex learned of his death, she got the stuffed dog Tim had given her, and did not let go. She has renamed this little animal Tim. Tim is currently living in Alex’s classroom to help her get through the day.

Tim was one of those folks, we meet in our lives, who is a little lost. On the court, Tim was the best tennis pro I have ever come across and I would know. I have met lots of tennis pros in my quest to be a successful tennis player. My husband says my tennis game has cost him thousands of dollars. Off the court, Tim was socially awkward, and a bit undependable – but to us this was the way Tim was, and we understood. We truly loved him; he was part of our family.

I will not share the sordid details – suffice it to say - life became difficult for Tim. We, as well as many of his friends, knew he was going through a rough patch, but we believed it would pass. Never, ever did we think he was this desperate. Suicide should not have been an option.

We are tremendously sad and I am very angry. John and I had to explain to our kids that someone they loved and trusted had committed this heinous act. It is probably one of the toughest things I have ever had to tell my kids. We tried to teach the lesson about asking for help, but I know I will need to reinforce this over and over again. There has to be a lesson in this, for it to make even an iota of sense to me.

This is the most selfish act anyone can ever commit – it is a long term solution to a very short term problem. The suffering that is left behind is immense. We are all going to feel this pain for a long time.

How could we have not known Tim was so ill? Why did I not keep calling him when he did not return my phone calls? How could someone do this to their loved ones? How do I spare my kids such pain? Why? Why? Why? I do not know the answers.

For now, I say; Tim, we miss you. I pray you have found peace.

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