Portrait of the Artist as a Man
February 22, 2014

This is Ian


This is Ian.

Ian died on February 18. Last Tuesday, though more likely the day before. Ian committed suicide. He built a helium mask. There are tutorials online that have a number of options, recommendations, and considerations you should make before you proceed. Like you should sit in a comfortable chair or lie bed so you don’t fall over when you pass out and break the seal on your mask. That you should allow t’s least 30 minutes to die because if you’re revived, you may have permanent brain damage. That you should consider buying your helium outside the EU because VAT is insane on helium tanks.

What it fails to recommend you consider is anything outside yourself. It fails to mention what suicide means to those who love you and what it means for you to disappear so suddenly. It fails to mention that your best friend will find you. It fails to mention that she will think she caught you in time when she mistakes her own pulse for yours. It fails to mention that she will try to breath life back into you in a human moment of hopeful panic. It fails to mention that it will crush the light inside of her when she cannot revive you.

I am angry. For so many reasons. Suicide is selfish. Suicide is thoughtless and cold and terrible and unfair and so final that no one can argue with you. No one can say, I love you and will help you,” that one time more to prevent it. No one can call you a butthead for thinking about it, for not talking and listening to people. For what this means for her. For what you meant to us.

I am sad. Even though I didn’t see him regularly, he was good for a text. A trivia game. A good bourbon. It was easy with him because he was accepting and kind. Because he didn’t understand what he was to us, even in those short text exchanges. That he couldn’t see through the fog of depression to recognize help was here. I was here. She was here. Nic, Alyska, Rich, Becker, everyone was here and would have fought demons with you

And I’m relieved (and disgusted that I am so) and unsurprised (and disgusted that I am so) because he was in pain and because he was reckless. If I am to accept the words in his note, he was in pain. And now that he is gone, there is peace. Nothing but peace.

And we will move on. It will be harder for some, especially her. I spent the last two days doing things: making rope, read Tumblr incessantly, dropping in on meetings. Too much time alone and I remember things like the mustaches or beer boots or bizarre traits he gave characters and I’m hit with more waves if nauseating sadness.

But we will move on. We still have all those people and tragedy serves to remind us that we do. We will move on with the happy memories we do have, will always have, with you and with each other.

If even if we can’t have you any more.

You butthead.


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Ian’s Memorial , a set on Flickr. I was asked to take pictures at Ian’s memorial today. It was a surreal experience but I’m glad I did. As hard as