I got an e-mail from my mother the other day. Mom is 81-years-old. She bought a computer last year and has forced her children, her neighbours, and just about everybody else to teach her how to use it.
The message was a bit hard to take in.
My brother is married to a delightful Texan lady who has two children from a previous marriage. This is not an unusual arrangement in modern America. They are a very happy and devoted couple. My brother went through a rough patch as a young man and this marriage has brought a necessary measure of peace and stability to his life.
We get on pretty well. We talk to each other at length on the phone every month or so. When our father died a couple of years ago, my brother read out the speech I had written because I couldn't get back for the funeral. Well, I could have, but I was told not to. That was a family thing. My brother and I are pretty close. I have two sisters as well. I think all of us are pretty tightly connected.
The e-mail I got from my mother was long and rambling with a lot of background info which I didn't really take in. What she was leading up to was to tell me that the eldest son of my brother's wife had put a gun to his head and taken his own life.
Why? Well, we still don't know why.
I called my brother on the phone and we talked. He was still in a state of shock. His wife's kids were grown when he married but he treated them like his own kids. They used to come by the house and he got on great with them. For some reason, Adam, the eldest, had chosen to stay with them for three days last week. This was unusual. Usually he dropped by to visit once or twice a month on weekends.
He left the house. He had said nothing about any problems or difficulties in his life. He went to a pawn shop where he bought a second-hand handgun. Next he went to Walmart where he bought a package of bullets. It's that simple.
He went home. He loaded the gun. He put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger.
Now Adam is dead. He was 23.
I know it is unreasonable, but ... well, when I think about it, I blame Texas. Why do they make it so goddam easy?