We never know when a major storm may hit or some kind of cyber warfare breaks out and we are without utilities for days. What will we do then? There are a lot of people that are prepared for this. Doomsday preppers. I’m a doomsday prepper. But I’ve never been waiting for a storm to come along and leave us stranded without food and water. I’m a doomsday prepper with my life.
Back in 2014 when my meteoric descent began to take place I became a doomsday prepper. Not immediately but it began to slowly start to take shape when I discovered my life insurance had a 2 year waiting period on suicides. If I committed suicide within the first 2 years the entire $700,000 would be forfeited. I had never known this. I believed that just me committing suicide at any time would forfeit the money marked for my son. So in early January 2015 when I opened up my life insurance policy I noticed the suicide clause, and I noticed it said within the first 2 years. The only thing was that I was now more than 6 years into the policy so if I ended up killing myself my son would get the money.
At that point it was no longer a matter of if but rather a matter of when. First I wanted to make sure I had things in order. I had typed letters to my sister, my brother in law, and my son who was only 5 at the time. I even went out and bought a birthday card for my best friend who was turning 40 but I had no plans on being alive but still wanted him to have the card. The letters were not about what went wrong or who could have done what. It was about what I wanted them to focus on. I wanted my brother in law to focus on my sister, my sister to be there for my son. I had specific requests in my letters. Like I love some of the qualities my brother in law has. He knows how to treat a woman and I wanted him to teach my son proper manners with a woman. I also wanted him to teach him how to be good with his money. The letter to my son was actually 2 parts. But in the first part I listed 10 things I wanted him to remember:
1. Love the person you are with for who they are not for what they can do for you
2. Respect everyone even if they don’t deserve it; never seek reveng
3. Appreciate the things and people you have in your life
4. Always be there for your family, stay close to Aunt Laurie
5. Never be afraid to ask for help, but pay your debts if you ever owe anyone
6. What I did does not need to define your future – be your own man
7. Learn from my mistakes and avoid making the same
8. Be a true and loyal friend
9. Always seek the truth, if it does not seem true then ask questions
10. Be a better man, father and husband than me
That letter was hard to write. It was surreal to think I wasn’t going to be around to see him try to fulfill the things I wrote. But after the letters I moved on to planning. I went so far as to get a quote on 2-4-15 from the Funeral home that I wanted to be used. $5,555 was the quote I had received. After I received that I took the next step and wrote my own obituary.
Tj father, brother and friend, died via suicide at the age of 39 on Thursday March 1,2015. He succumbed to a quiet, insidious disease: A Mental Illness known as Major Depressive Disorder. Mental illnesses plays a major role in roughly 44,000 Americans committing Suicide each year. A loss of lives that is unnecessary and ignored. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death and can no longer be overlooked. 1 in 4 Americans suffer from a mental illness. Much like AIDS/HIV in the 80s those with a mental illness are often feared because of a lack of understanding and education. TJ suffered valiantly from the ravages of this physically transparent illness since his teen years of life. Major Depressive Disorder is incurable and as deadly as cancer or heart disease. It is a disease of the mind and one’s mental outlook. Born the son of Joan and Richard on July 19, 1975 in McKeesport. TJ leaves behind the prize of his life his son Conner, his Father Richard a Sister Laura, a brother in law Doug, a brother Richard, an uncle Donald, a nephew Blake, several cousins and many friends.
The final items I added were pictures of me and my ex wife and kids at Disney. I put some more financial information in there as well. Then in when the suit I wanted to be laid out in I added a few items that my step daughter and son had either made or gave to me. I wanted them with my casket.
I was doing all this planning. I was ready. For the longest time I couldn’t understand why I had this. And now it’s still more of why do I STILL have it. But it was put to me like this… I’m doing all this planning because it’s the only thing in my life at that point that I had control of. I had no control of my body, my mind, my marriage, my job, nothing. Everything was completely out of control. So I used this as a way to feel in control of something.
As for why I still have it. I think it’s basically a security blanket. My mind isn’t wandering any more. It’s not a concern that I have to have to get everything prepared just in case. I think about suicide every single day of my life and I believe it’s going to be that way. I’ve often said that if I’m dead before I’m 55 it will be suicide. But more and more and more I don’t want to talk about my own suicides. I want to talk to others about why they want to commit it. I want to help others walk away from that fatal decision. EVERYONE of us with a mental illness have been blessed with an amazing opportunity to share with others. I implore you to not sit back and think that this issue will be solved by other people. YOU can be part of the resolution. Don’t wait, participate!
REMEMBER… YOU MATTER!!