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  • Writer's pictureWellington Lambert

My well-fed fat face


When I was younger, much younger, I made a deal. I wouldn’t kill myself until my mother died. That way I wouldn’t have the guilt of knowing I would be killing her at the same time. It’s hard to explain how much comfort that gave me. But flash forward to my mother turning 92, still alive, so, I guess the joke was on me.

Those thoughts were real to me, and I don’t take them lightly, but the desperate darkness of finding solace in a well thought out suicide plan gave me pause. A moment to reflect and think, I’m going to die anyway, I may as well play this out. So, in a way, those thoughts saved me.

I remember watching “Night Mother,” on television and thinking how calm the character played by Sissy Spacek was. She had decided to kill herself and had put all her things in order, labeling who gets what. I get it. Sometimes the only thing that calms you down is a well thought out exit plan, but for me, it was all theory, a trick my mind needed to give me the illusion of control.

My suicidal ideation faded over time but my desire for control folded itself neatly into a well cultured OCD pattern. Just a different way to relieve the same stress.

These thoughts were triggered again by a call I received late one night. It was a woman I worked with as a camp councillor in Kapuskasing during my last summer there. She told me Guy, someone I was friends with, had committed suicide. I was so taken by surprise my next question was…is he ok? No... clearly not.

He had taken some pills, went to bed and left a note saying he did not want his funeral in a church. The last time I saw him was in Toronto, I told him I was gay. I really didn’t think it would matter as it seemed so obvious to everyone, but I never heard from him again. I remember working with him at Camp and him being my first male friend post puberty. He talked about Ayn Rand and university, his plans as a budding capitalist and his experiences in a world I wanted so badly to be a part of. I imagined moving to Toronto and having the world open up to me. Guy seemed to have it all, a plan with a brain that was always on fire, but looking back, his brain also lit everything else on fire, till it burned down his entire world. His family had a history of mental illness and suicide, so I guess it was his turn.

The darkness of those final moments became an obsession. I wanted to understand how something goes from an idea to a final act. I think I was curious because I knew I would never follow through. My weakness saved me, then made me stronger. I imagined the intensity of the moments leading to the final solution to be filled with the desire for some kind of relief, the pills, the gun, the bridge are just a portal to a better world. But trying to imagine following through is beyond me. The circumstances surrounding these acts are complicated and often riddled with a history of mental challenges. The brain is not understood and the mystery of it leaves those of us who breathe in these tragedies, lost in a world of “what if.” That somehow your importance in their world would have made a difference if you only knew. Then you discover your importance means nothing, not to someone who is slaying demons, you are barely a speck on the horizon. You can’t drown the voices with kindness, understanding or love. It has already become a one way street.

Be there, be aware, it’s all you can do, and it’s more than most.

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