Uncle James killed himself when I was a child.
He waited until everybody went to work and took a pistol and stuck it on his temple. He pulled the trigger and was dead. You can’t imagine the shock and horror his mother had when she came home and discovered him dead. They lived in a four family apartment building near Central High School just off Dexter Avenue.
James was a small man who was good with his hands. But nothing seemed to work out for him. He was not very educated and wordly. He knew most people around him were smarter and it really bugged him. He could not keep a job and could not keep a steady relationship. James blamed the white man for the periils in his life. He’d get drunk and scream how “pecker woods” did him wrong.
He’d put on dress pants and a nice shirt and go all over the city to find a job. Usually he struck out. And the times he didn’t he’d get fired for showing up drunk on the job. He’d take me fishing and always got drunk and begam screaming “Here fishy, fishy. Come on and bit fishy, fishy, fishy.”
We knew he had problems but never expected him to kill himself. You always ask the question “what could I have done to prevent this?” I am sure friends and family members of former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau are asking the same question after he shot himself in the chest. There was probably nothing they could do.
I am convinced Seau’s suicide note will be found inside his brain when doctor’s examine it. I am betting the years of playing football left him depressed and diminished his brain capacity. He was tired of living this way and wanted to send a message to the world. His act is still selfish because friends and family members still loved him and wanted to touch him.
When you kill yourself you are hurting loved ones more than you hurt yourself. We don’t think about Uncle James much these days because his death occured so long about. But when we do we still ask the same question. What could we have done to prevent this?