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Blog - Anthony Bourdain

It's Ok to Live Again / Life , The Second Time Around - The Book

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It's Ok to Live Again - Is a upcoming book of fiction that deals with the issue of suicide



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Preface

I am acutely aware of the magnitude of this subject matter and one can even understand my apprehension for even writing this story. This story has being brewing for quite some time, in fact, I wrote the actual poem that inspired this book seven years ago.  The question could be asked, "why did it take so long to write the story?" My answer to that would be, the suicide rate — 

The hopeless of someone who is struggling with depression which ultimately drives them to take their own life has always baffled and bothered me. I refused to accept the narrative that,
”You don’t understand what these people are going through.” And to that I would say,
“Well make me understand, I’m willing to listen.”

Anyway you choose to look at it, suicide, is the final act— there is no coming back from that one. It is even more puzzling when the person that commits the act is a celebrity who doesn’t leave a note behind to give a reason as to why they did what they did. Our human straight-forward way of thinking would tell us that the person went through hardship and was unable to cope and they just had it — and made the decision to check out. We have seen through the public eye (without knowledge of the intimate details) celebrities who seemingly have it all together, having jobs that the rest of the world could only dream of, decides to exit the world. Contrast this with other person who is born with no arms and no legs, but yet, this person is a motivation speaker who goes around encouraging others to become better version of themselves. Hence the challenge we now face to understand why. Because what we thought we knew, has been turned on its head creating new questions that requires a more collective human interaction with those who are battling these thoughts on a daily basis.

This book was written to simply have that talk — howbeit from a slightly different angle. We have to make a consorted effort to keep having this conversation so those with suicidal thoughts know they are not alone. Far too often we see in the media where  the situation is played out announcing the latest news of another person ending their life, this news will spin for a few days then it’s off to the next one. That in itself sends a message to the potential victims that you are only relevant for this length of time even when you have exited this world.

My hope is that the story which lives within the pages of this book, will be enough to have someone look at life from a other viewpoint, and come out with different questions than the ones that has already been asked.






Back Page Information


After the initial shot — Jeffrey must now fight his way through rehab, a place that he feared growing up as he remembered those old movies with crazy people walking the halls and talking to their imaginary friends. Frustrated by the fact that he failed at life — he must now come to the conclusion that he has also failed at death. Lucky for him, Grace Monty — entered his life.

Unable to see her face on the first day of meeting her in rehab, Jeffrey would have to settle for just listening to Graces’ voice behind the curtain that separated them. During their conversation, Jeffrey had no choice but to envision who was this person who seems to know so much about life and who carries this upbeat tone in her voice.

Love — was nowhere in the picture when he decided to end his life, but after he laid eyes on Grace in the hallway of the recovery center, he was immediately drawn to her red hair. He was captive by the way the light bounced off her face as she slowly turned around to make eye contact with him. Is this another turning point, is the universe trying to send Jeffery Wilson a message…? That message came through loud and clear when he stared into the eyes of his newborn son. Nothing more needed to be said, after that moment, he now knows what must be done.

                                                                                                                                                                  






Here is a sneak peak inside the book (The first five pages)




     After staring at the gun for another hour, I raised it to my head. In my mind this was it 一 this was the time I would put an end to my misery. I knew it was never going to be easy to take my own life, but I have come to the conclusion that there was no help for me and that this was the only way out. I made sure that I was sitting in a place where my body would easily be found. I took one last look around the room as I tried to take as many memories with me as possible. The photo on my desk with me, my mom and my sister stood out. I figured that the image of the family was a good memory to take with me. In that photo we were all smiling, those were the days where I didn't have a care in the world as long as I was with my family. I turn on the light on the desk to make sure I could see what I was doing, trying to point a gun at yourself isn't as easy as it looked on tv. I had to make sure that my thumb doesn’t slip because of the sweat that was now forming around my fingers. I tried to calm myself down by taking a few deep breaths but that didn't work, after all, I am ending my life ㅡ it’s normal to be nervous.Those were the words I told myself to build up the courage to fire the lethal bullet and put an end to this life and hopefully find peace in the next one wherever that may be.

Most of the room was pitch black and the usual smell of the room that I have grown used to, was somehow more pronounced than it has ever been. I guess my mind was just in a different place, I would think that it would have to be ㅡ I was about to end everything that I have known to be normal and embark on the unknown.I wanted to call the few friends to say goodbye but how do you do that... how do you say to your best friend that you have to cancel the baseball game that you agreed to attend with him because you decided to exit this world. He was always in my corner from day one and we did everything together we simply did what best friends do. He knows that I have been struggling with this depression and the last few months of cyberbullying did not help matters. It's not that I don't want to tell him, it’s just that I simply don't know how to express what I was feeling in a way that anybody can really understand. I knew that he would feel betrayed because we have always confided in each other and for that, I am truly sorry. I just have to accept the fact that there will be love ones, friends and family who are going be hurt when all's said and done. 

I sat in the chair with my back to the wall, there was an adjoining house directly attached to the wall where I was sitting. I was thinking about the people in the other house, and I didn't want the bullet to go through a wall and hurt someone in the another room.
I left the suicide note in plain view where it could easily be found.The note was very difficult to write, mainly because of my mom, she was the one that I felt for the most, she was the one that I knew would not be able to cope.

If it wasn't for her ― I would have taken my life a long time ago. The image of her with tears running down her face at my funeral, has snapped me out of my suicidal thoughts many times before, but not this time, this time I'm making sure that I will not be made a fool of. I will no longer be ridiculed at my part time job and I won't have to worry about my relationship with my on again, off again, girlfriend. 


I leaned back, pointed the gun at my head and pulled the trigger. I felt the impact at the left side of my head and in that moment, I knew that I had crossed that threshold into the unknown. I remember looking forward to seeing what death was like, to see for myself the white light and what happens when I go through it. But the other side was also a big factor, what if I don't go upstairs ― what if there is nothing but darkness? I waited but nothing came. There were no white light, nothing, just still silence. So I imagine this is what it is going to be like, the end of my life ― nothing to look forward to. For a brief moment I thought I heard some voices but I remember saying to myself, this must be the after effects because I am no longer in the present. The voices kept getting louder and more recognizable. There was one voice that was more pronounced than the others and that was the voice of my mother.
I figured her voice would be the strongest since she's the one that I was more concerned with when I did the deed. 


This experience got stranger when other people entered the room. I heard the voice of who I assumed to be a doctor. I have heard of people who have died and said that they would hover over their beds and they could see all the people in the room, they would say that it was an “out of body” experience. I felt no such thing, this was more like a dream than anything else. So I decided to listen more to the voice of the doctor, I figured that he would give me a clue as to what is going on with my body. Then I thought about it. Why would a doctor be talking about me, shouldn't that be the voice of a coroner?

All the voices and thoughts were floating in my head as I became more confused. The main reason I tried to end my life was so that I wouldn't have to deal with anymore situations, no division making, no more planning, no more disappointments, no anger, no more grief. Then why the hell do I feel like I am still living in a never ending cycle?

All these questions were answered when I felt a warm touch on my forearm. I remember that burning sensation in the bottom of my gut. I remember saying to myself, “If you open your eyes, your death will be over”. Then it all became clear. I picked up on what the doctor, not the coroner, was saying. He said the bullet graze over the left side of my skull and did not fully penetrated my skull. He said that I must have knocked myself out when my head hit the wall or when the chair slip and I hit the floor. I figured the doctor came to that conclusion based on the nasty bump that I now feel on the back of my head. He said it would have been certain death if the bullet move quarter of an inch over to the right which simply means 
I was very lucky. 

For the average person that would be great news, for me, I decided to just lay there… coming to grips with the fact that I will have to live my life all over again did not sit well with me. I remember saying “How pathetic could I be, I have already failed at life, now I have also failed at death”.


While I was just lying in that hospital bed I went over everything that drove me to this point. I tried to figure out ways on how to live my life over again because if I didn't, I will end up in this same position, or finally succeed at exiting this world.

“Come on baby talk to me, God has answered my prayers, you have a second chance at life.” that voice had been there since my birth. It's funny, but it felt like I was being born again. I figured she had waited long enough, knowing her and how much she loves me, I had no doubt if anyone was by my side for however long I was out, my mother would be that person.
I took a deep breath and slowly open my eyes. The lights were blinding as I watched my mother's face came into view. She told me she has been by my side for the past 2 days. I looked at her intensely as if I was trying to look right through her. The disappointment was very present on her face, I knew she would have to be one of the ones I would have to convince that I will be taking a different path. I know this was not going to be easy and it is going to take a lot on my part, but also she would be in the awkward position of keeping an eye on me, always wondering when I would try this stunt again. I can't begin to describe the feeling of disappointment I was experiencing. The very thought of placing the added burden on my mother worrying over a situation where she would get a call in the middle of the night saying that her son was dead, really shook me to the core.

We talked for a while even though she did most of the talking. I just lay there staring at the ceiling. A few moments later the doctor came in and told us that they are going to keep me here for the next few days and that I would have to enter a program here at the hospital to be evaluated, to see if I am ready reenter society. Mom said her goodbyes, she said she would be back tomorrow and will be bringing my favorite meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I smiled and in a funny way, I said to myself,

"Now... that would have been one of the few things in life that I would truly miss."

Now she has me looking forward to that dish, I am sure the hospital food is going to taste that much worse, knowing that my favorite meal is 24 hrs away. We hugged and she walked out of the room.

“She sounds like a very nice lady” the voice came from the other side of the curtain. It sounds a like female patient.

“Yes she is” I replied.
“My name is Grace”
“Hi Grace, I'm Jeffrey”
“So what method did you use?" she asked.
"Excuse me?”

“Hey I know we just met and you can’t see me, but they don’t just put you on this floor because you have the Flu. Ok since I started the conversation I guess I’ll break the ice. For me, I went the old fashion way, I did the wrist. Now you, you can do it...”
When she said that I knew I was speaking with someone who was in the same situation I was in. I have never had to answer a question like that before, I have never had an opportunity to speak with someone on this issue other than the occasional therapist so I figured I could let my guard down, heck, I might even learn something.
“For me, it was a gun to the head.”

I heard a little chuckle as if she was laughing at me.
“I'm sorry for laughing but the head is a big target at close range, how could you miss? There was a small silence in the room I didn't know what to make of it, because I couldn't see her face I didn't know if she laughed because she thought I was stupid or she was just stunned by the humor in the story. Then I heard the bed covers moving as if she was re-positioning herself.


“Jeffrey, one thing you will learn about me is that I am very forward, I say what I mean and mean what I say. Attempting to take your life so many times teaches you a thing or two about life and time. It’s ironic that you fight so hard to leave this world, only to open more doors as you close the ones you felt didn't fulfill your needs.”
“Wow that is very insightful” I said to her.
“As many times as I tried, trust me, your eyes will be opened after nearly being permanently closed.”
“You did it again… now I really want to see who I'm talking to.”
“ Oh no, not so fast Romeo, let’s keep the mystery going, it's more fun that way. Sometimes when you get what you want too quickly, you end up getting tired of that very thing you work so hard to attain.”
We talked for hours, I kept trying to picture her face. 



 

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