Ron was good for me even if I didn't always appreciate it. It was hard to receive what I so easily dished out to others - unsolicited advice. He was always telling me that help was only a hand away. Just reach out my hand and someone would be there. If I had a buck for every time he told me that, well....I'd have a bundle. I'd be lying if I didn't admit every time he told me that I resisted his message to the hilt. I would do this sobriety thing my own way thank you very much. Or at least do it without taking his advice.
On my 7th sobriety celebration he gave me his own medallion from that year. It is the only one I have today even though I have been sober 16 years now. Wow - has it really been nearly 10 years since Ron and I first met? Wow.
Looking back now I can see that Ron suffered from having bi polar disease. He would be way up and then way down. At the time I only concentrated on his way up times. I had my own down times - those I could understand. It was the way up times I judged him harshly for. I tended to think he was a braggart, always scheming up something new - the latest, greatest ticket to wealth. All he really wanted was some stability - a normal life. He worked in an industry that was feast or famine. Today when I see that industry in a continual feasting phase I think of Ron and wish he could have held on to be a part of it today.
The last time I saw Ron alive I was absolutely full of myself and my judgements. So sure that what I saw was reality. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Ron and his wife had had a garage sale that day - his job was in the famine stage and they were unloading what they could to help keep ahead of the wolf at the door. One of the items left over at their garage sale was a juicer. When his wife phoned to talk about how their sale had gone I told her I had always wanted a juicer but didnt have the money, even at garage sale prices, to buy one. Ron piped up in the background that they would give it to me for an early birthday present.
Less than 30 minutes later Ron was on my doorstep with the juicer. The boys were watching Ben Hur and he joined them for a bit - being a boy with my boys. We visited for a while. He told me one of our boys would make it through life just fine but our other son would need to be helped along the whole way through. Strange comments I thought. Especially since I still was not asking his opinion. He finished his coffee and left. I commented to my husband that Ron must be growing up - it was the first time he had been in our house that he hadn't shared his latest get rich quick scheme. I sat there all smug in my interpretation of his behaviour. How little did I know. It wasn't that Ron had grown up (as if I knew what grown up behaviour was). He had lost hope. Completely.
A few weeks later his job started up again for the season and he packed his camper to go to a new job site. He never made it. On purpose. He parked his camper in a campground parking lot - went for a walk and never came back. He never took his own advice. He never reached out a hand.
It took several days for the police to find his body. There are many ways to end a life. Ron was took no chances. He chose three of the ways all at once. He was making sure it was a done deal. The morning his wife called to tell us that he was gone I screamed that scream that needs no words. I felt so betrayed. Reach out your fucking hand Ron. Take your own advice. How could he not do what he was always telling me to do.
My husband and I went to the police station to collect Ron's belongings. God willing, I will never do that kind of thing again. In a tiny police station with walls that echoed every word we were handed a small ziploc bag. It contained Ron's hat, his lighter, his pack of smokes and his wallet. There was a bloody thumbprint on his pack of smokes where he must have opened the pack to have one last smoke before he died. I looked at the bag and wanted to scream at anyone who would listen - is THIS it? One little bag of stuff is supposed to represent all that Ron was? The police man went back to his boss and asked about Ron's clothes.....every word echoed throughout the building as we heard him say that Ron's clothes hadn't been kept because they were too bloody.