I shot off three exploding bottle rockets in the dead of night. One for Clay, one for Abbie and one for Kevin. They all died within a few weeks of one another. Indeed, the obituaries of Abbie and Kevin were together on the same page of the Dec. 30 Courier Death Count, separated only by letters of the alphabet. Earlier, Clay took his life with a kill-shot to the head.
Clay Bond, a fellow manic-depressive, had been telling me for seven years he was going to kill himself. And he finally made good on his word, like a promise delayed, but a promise kept. Clay was one of the founding members of the Depressive and Bipolar Support Alliance. He was a hard-core, two-fisted, life-loving, stand-up guy, the kind you could share a foxhole with.
Clay saved my life in 2000 when I made those threatening phone calls to Mitch McConnell’s answering machine. He told the FBI not to try to take me down at my 25th floor apartment. Too high. Lure Carl in, Clay persuaded, lest another cop go off a roof. I made an appointment and was told by a smirking FBI agent that I had been brought there on false pretenses and that I had the right to remain silent.
Thanks, buddy. The first skyrocket was for you.
The second skyrocket was for Abbie Dennison. Another Mad Dog, Abbie also suffered from epilepsy and heard dark voices commanding her to cut herself and worse. Abbie finally obeyed the voices and — irony of ironies — took her life with a massive dose of drugs intended to stabilize her mood. I loved Abbie, she was always in my life — for seven years. We even had a moment. But Abbie’s heart was owned by The Angel of Death.
Abbie was always there with those bedroom eyes and quick wit. She’d motorcycle from Germantown to Hurstbourne, only to be met at the door by a severely depressed Carl Brown. I’d say, “Can’t let you in, too sick, not today.” Abbie would give me a hug, sweet kiss and a smile and throw a helmet on her head and tool back down I-64, away from Babylon.
I know the pain is gone now.
When my stepson Jeff, who was like my flesh-and-blood son, committed suicide, I wrote a column that read something like this:
A bunch of European white men of the Catholic Church, in their wisdom, decided suicide was unacceptable, that you would go to hell and not even be allowed burial in a Catholic cemetery.
My own damn opinion? Since the Bible is silent on suicide, this is a papal edict. I suspect he just wanted more Catholics to live in order that they bear more Catholic kids — the tithes and offerings of all of the above further filling papal pockets with gold.
I say this: My God is a merciful God, otherwise I wouldn’t love him so much. People who commit suicide experience enormous mental pain and are utterly despondent. I think God allows people who commit suicide into heaven. He just lets them “come home early.”
Kevin did not commit suicide.
A man in his 50s, he put bread on the table of many people. I knew Kevin was dying. That is why I scheduled him as a television guest months ago, so his wisdom might be captured in cyberspace. Now his ideas and advices will live forever.
Kevin’s mind was like a diamond. No matter how intellectually challenging the conversation, Kevin, with the most tender smile, would wade in and make his point in such a way that the listener would never forget. He would move along and teach others.
Jesus spoke in little parables so people could understand. Kevin did this all of his life, but few of us knew it at the time.
But anyway, I’m Carl Brown, Louisville’s Plain Brown Rapper. And that’s just my own damn opinion. If you don’t like it, sue me, but if you have a friend, relative or family member who has committed suicide, please let your anger and sadness give way to joy and understanding that they just went home a little early. Clay, Abbie and Kevin flew away like skyrockets, flew away to heaven.
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