Friday, June 17, 2011

Close To Home

First of all…yes, yes, I know, I failed miserably at the “posting every day in June” challenge…now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on. ;-)

I watch a lot of television, and I have always been a fan of crime procedurals, police shows, and the like. I don’t know if this is because I wanted to be a lawyer at one point in my life (grateful now I didn’t choose that path after all), or simply because most of the stuff that happens on those shows is really like an alternate reality to me. Sort of like my vampire shows. Those things don’t happen, not really, in my life.

Unlike my vampire shows, I realize that the crime stuff is all too real for many people, but I am blessed to not be faced with those harsh realities on a daily basis.

I mean, there is plenty of crime and devastation in the city where I live (trust me, we are far from a Utopia here), but I’m removed from it. And in general, I don’t really even watch the news or read the paper. This is a topic for another day, but I’m a bit of an emotional sponge, and watching the news always ends with me in tears, aching for the world we live in.

Now and again, however, something hits so close to home, that it is impossible to avoid. And last night, it couldn’t have gotten any closer to home…literally.

I came home to find out my upstairs neighbor had shot and killed himself earlier this week.


Here’s the thing, it didn’t exactly come as a total shock. The man was obviously suffering from a deep depression and we all knew it. He’d lost his job, he was always holed up in his condo, and recently, he was foreclosed on, his unit was sold, and he wouldn’t open the door to the new owner. Last year around this time his family sent the police over to do a wellness check on him. We found out then that he was estranged from said family. The few times I saw him recently, he’d put on a large amount of weight, and lost most of his hair. He had aged noticeably. He was only in his early 40’s. He had, quite obviously, given up.

This neighbor gave me grief for years with the parking situation, and I spent the better time of the first 6 years of living there disliking him. But recently, my tune had changed. As much as I was still annoyed that he never moved his car ONCE this entire winter, leaving me without a parking space due to the tremendous amounts of snow we got, I realized that something was obviously wrong. So I began to pray for him whenever I’d get frustrated. I prayed he would get the help he so obviously needed. I’m sad to say he obviously didn’t.

The scary part of it all is that looking back on it now, talking to my other neighbors last night, I realized…I actually heard the gunshot earlier this week. I shudder at the thought, but I remember sitting up on my couch and going “what the hell was that?” And then, when I heard nothing else, I went back to watching television.

My heart breaks for his family, and obviously for him. How hopeless must he have felt…how I wish I could have done something to help.

But all I could and all I can do is pray…it still seems inconceivable…and far too close to home.