Knew a chap whose dad killed himself when the boy was eleven. Sat down at the dinner table, stuck the business end of a shotgun in his mouth, and blew the back of his head off.
Heckuva thing for mom and the kids to find. The young man in question – call him Joe – told me that his mother kept him out of the room, but he couldn’t help but see the gory ceiling painting through the open doorway,… that, and his father’s foot, sticking out from under the table. The last thing of his father he ever saw was his foot.
Unless you count that portion of Dad that was splattered across the ceiling and far wall, that is.
I would be inclined to agree. His family never discussed it, which left him to talk about it with a few friends, including me.
Joe was in his late teens before he really began to consider, in an adult fashion, why his old man might have killed himself. The guy was unemployed, and apparently drank quite a bit, and only around age nineteen did Joe really begin to consider that perhaps the old man was simply ashamed of himself and his inability to live up to his own standards. Mom supported the family by managing a fast food joint, and Dad couldn’t find work to save his life.
Before that, Joe pretty much assumed that his old man hated him, his sisters, and his mom, and had opted out rather than try divorcing them.
The result of this on one sister was to become a raving nymphomaniac and party animal, drinking and drugging a blazing path across town. She quit school, turned into something of a town pump, and left town, finally, a couple years later at twenty or so, and I don’t know anything about her after that.
Other sister became a sort of extremely quiet drone, with no friends I knew of, who simply went to school… went home… went to bed… got up and went to school again. I don’t think I ever heard that girl speak more than ten words, total.
Joe became your archtypical teen stoner, for whom marijuana was one of the basic necessities of life. Went through his entire teen experience stoned to the gills. Began to wise up in his late teens, and went through a period where he kept trying to straighten out, lay off the beer and weed, and try dealing with life on its own terms. He failed some six times that I know of, before I left town myself and lost track of him.
I hope he made it.