I’m about to turn 64.
I worked hard through my professional life to put my son, daughter and nephew through good schools and university and my wife through law school. In 1995, I started my own business in California.
I had some welcome success, putting aside a comfortable nest egg which I thought would carry me through however much time I had left. I was wrong. All the nest egg did was attract the attention of circling sharks.
Beginning in 2008, I made some business decisions which, over the course of the next five years, would cost me virtually everything. A former partner, my personal attorney and an associate of his embezzled a seven-figure sum from me, which I then spent six years trying to recover through “proper channels” – the courts. What little I had left was consumed in legal fees, and I managed to recover a grand total of $70,000. My attorney declared bankruptcy, his associate has deep, deep pockets, and can outlast me…
Last November (2014) I had to sell my home to pay my creditors. The proceeds of the sale didn’t cover all my debts. My divorce became final in December. I moved cross-country to be with someone I love, but that has not worked out. We’re both old dogs, set in our ways, perhaps incapable of learning new tricks. Whatever the cause, that option is closed now.
So, here I am. Late June of 2015, broke, no place to live, brimming with sadness and disappointment at having reached this nadir of life so late… with virtually no time to get up, dust myself off, and start again.
My health is shot. I’ve developed a stress-related heart condition, which scares me sometimes with its intensity. Blood pressure is elevated. I get dizzy if I stand up too quickly.
As I watched my business and my money spiral down the toilet, I started drinking heavily, eventually reaching a fifth-a-day habit, which didn’t help.
In November of 2011, midway through the disintegration, I quit drinking, which did.
Tonight, though, in a frenzy of despair, I started again. I’m buried deep in anger at myself and disappointment that I’ve managed to find one more thing to screw up, and I’m finding the familiar vodka-buzz is helping me get these thoughts written down, even though I know, beyond any uncertainty, that that first drink was a desperate error.
I am morbidly sad. Some might venture the term “depressed”. Maybe so. But I am also calm. I am not crying hysterically, nor am I pacing the room counting each step as I march closer to something I have thought of for months now. I am steady, resolved. I am focused on the task at hand, evaluating alternatives, choosing the most appropriate solution. I am not panicking, or acting impulsively.
I have several prescriptions for all the ills that vex me – and after researching their respective toxicities (in overdose), I realize I have a weapon that is less messy than any gun, less horrific than stepping into the void off a high bridge. A couple dozen of each of my pills, washed down with my refound friend, vodka, will do just fine. Quiet, peaceful. Above all, gentle. Apparently, my blood pressure will drop very low, and my pulse rate will slow until my circulatory system can no longer nourish essential organs. If I take enough, my heart will slow and stop, and the dark will rise up to swallow me as surely as if I tied cannonballs to my legs and jumped overside a ship far out to sea.
How close am I to settled intent? How close to not sitting, looking at a cupped palm full of pills, unable to muster that last flash of courage to knock them all back, then lie down on my freshly made bed to wait for sleep.
And is my present inability to cross that line just a suggestion that I have not yet reached that limit of despair and resignation which would make that final action so easy as to be almost unconsciously achieved.
At what point does ideation move to execution?