Yesterday, out of the blue, I got the sudden urge to power up Brandon’s phone and save anything and everything I could. You never know when it’ll stop working, right?
I got many of his pictures off there (mostly of the various garage projects he was working on). Then I stumbled onto a video. A video I completely forgot he made. It was of my car’s oil burning, so it shows me backing up in the car, then he comes around and video tapes me, I tell him to stop and roll up the window. When the window goes up, I can clearly see him standing there in the reflection, smiling, and he waves at me in the cute way he used to.
I wasn’t expecting that. I wasn’t prepared to see him, for the first time in over two years, alive, smiling, moving.
It hurt. It took my breath away. It made me happy. It made me cry.
Once I recovered from the sheer shock of seeing him again, not as a frozen moment in pictures, but ALIVE, I remembered that he had many videos on his old hard drive. So there I went, again, for the first time in years. Those files have been in the “oh don’t look at that, it’ll just hurt you” pile, so they’ve been unwatched.
I watched them yesterday.
I felt like I found diamonds, gold…the key to the universe.
I found Brandon. Alive again. Even if it’s just in video.
There’s a video of him driving (a friend was taping from the backseat). In it, Brandon looks behind him, smiles, says something, and starts laughing. Laughing. I never thought I’d ever hear that again. In honest truth, I forgot what he sounded like.
I found countless videos of him, his brother, and other friends at a sandpit, shooting various guns. I could suddenly hear him talk, hear that southern drawl he got sometimes. I could see him walk, move, smile.
It was heaven.
It was hell.
There’s not a single emotion I can pinpoint…I felt it all. I was happy. I was unbelievably sad. I smiled. I bawled. I hurt. I was glad.
Jesus. I felt it all, at once.
The other things I saved was our last texts to each other. Those came with pain, too…reading his “Hi wife!” “Hi boogums!” “Hi best friend!” messages…ouch. Whatever scab healed over those old wounds ripped off yesterday and started bleeding again.
I saw the last conversation he had with his brother. Brandon asked him if he’d would be on Skype that night (yes, THAT night) at about 7pm, and his brother said he’d get on after 10pm. Brandon’s response was “Awww. I’ll be in bed by then…maybe.” I think reading that was the most painful of all. He was going to be in bed, so he wouldn’t be talking to his brother. Somehow, some-freaking-how, instead of sleeping, Brandon would be slouched over in his chair, bullet hole in his neck, gun in his hand, dead. Not in bed. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead.
Every time I think I have managed to come close to petting this wild animal, suicide, to understanding it, to coming to terms with its presence in my life, something always comes up that makes me pull my hand away, step away, and be scared of petting it again. I never thought Brandon was unhappy. I never thought he would want to kill himself. There were no real clues, no real obvious, “Hey, he’s struggling. You should pay attention!” moments. Everything was fucking normal. That day. That week. That month. It was all as it always was…normal. This stupid last text to his brother is proof of that. His plans for the rest of the night were to go to bed, not shoot himself and have me find his body.
His brother told me Brandon called him on Skype around 9:30 that night, but he didn’t answer because he was out to dinner with his wife and was going to call back later.
There would be no later.
Would Brandon still be alive if his brother answered?
Why did he try to call him minutes before his time of death?
What the hell happened?
Will I ever stop asking myself these damned questions?
Over the past 2 years I have rationalized the situation. 1+2=3. Brandon is dead + gun in his lap = he killed himself. Right? Makes sense. The problem is I have never truly believed it, not really, not deep down. I may have rationalized suicide, but I still haven’t accepted it. Will I ever?
Is there any other possible explanation for his death?
Should I wrap myself up in rationalizations, or just admit that I still, to this day, don’t really buy that story? Does it make me pathetic to still not believe it?
There’s no real evidence. There’s no explanation. It’s just Brandon, a gun in his lap, a blood alcohol level of 0.23, and the police ruling of “suicide”. That should be enough. That should make me accept it.
Oh wow. I haven’t said or even thought this out loud before (well, as out loud as typing can get, anyway).
It feels strange.
It makes me feel like I’m in denial.
This is all just a cruel, cruel thing.
I don’t have much else to say…I think I’ve jotted down the thoughts that have been bouncing around my head adequately. Let’s see if it makes me feel any better.