27

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An empty room
a note on the table
Sylvia Plath,
And
Vizzini wrote about depression
about overcoming it
Only to commit suicide later…
Hemingway,shot himself …
Fitzgerald died from a heart attack
But depressed
Believing none of his work meant anything…

For writers
Depression seems to be a shadow
One that we can’t escape

That’s what I thought of …
Being the oldest sister
It shouldn’t have surprised me
Eric had always
Been very active
And from your first impression
He seemed to be fine
He’d gone to Africa after college
To work on journalism
And well drilling
Then moved to New York
I have three of his four books
Mostly poetry…
Some essays
A die hard romantic
And lover of children
And families
But he always had this
Shadow
I remember one night
He kicked back three drinks and some liquor got in his car
And disappeared for four days
Refusing to answer his phone
Or messages
I was about to call a close friend of his
To see if she’d heard anything from him
He never disappeared like this
It was more common of his
Brother
Disappearing
Smoking pot
Showing up once a decade
in Some random ER
But not Eric
Eric would be the one who stayed
With you in the ER

I finally received a text message
From him …
He just needed space
He’d said
“don’t worry I’m too vain to kill myself”
I couldn’t believe it
“That’s the ones who do …dumbass”
I answered angry
And then because I hate confrontation
I Tossed the phone in my top drawer
And waited
He didn’t say anything

He was the most personal person
You’d ever meet
Always wearing his heart on his sleeve
Unashamed
But there was a confusion
Even when he was younger
He wanted to connect to people
wanted to help them
But also loved his own space
Not isolating
So much
But keeping to himself
His only friends
Were women Mostly
He understood
Them
And fell for them
Over and over
And they fell for him
A photographer
With a heavy British accent
She knew him more than anyone
A screen writer who wrote him regularly
While she was away
And several others…
They all shared something

I remember he used to preach
When he was younger
And after our father died
He just stopped
He didn’t care a whole lot for religion
Or church
Everything was so charged
Everyone had an opinion
But he wasn’t like that
He just kept them to himself
Rather
He tried to understand people
And until they gave him a reason
An absolute reason not to
He gave them a chance

I was
Sitting in my window
Smoking
When I got the phone call
I knew …
And my heart sank
Into my chest

The night before his
27th birthday
Eric committed suicide
I went to his apartment
Sharon was there
The photographer
Reading old letters
He’d always typed out letters
And mailed them to everyone he knew
A reason wasn’t required
All he needed was to be thinking of you
And you’d get a letter …
She had 8 years worth …
So did several others ….
I realized
Then
That’s why he didn’t keep a journal
His journals were just fragments
But his letters were full…
He poured himself out
Hoping to help someone else

I looked outside
It was snowing …
In September
He would have loved that.

For writers
Depression seems to be a shadow
One that we can’t escape
It follows us through history
And we never see
I can’t begin to explain it
I can’t even write it
I’m just a writer
And the sister of
A writer…
Who knows it all too well.
We can carry our shadows
And cover them
We can project them
Or we can try
We can understand
Maybe we can write
Words
That haven’t been said before
And that’s difficult
Because everyone is saying
Something
But if we
Can make that connection
Boldly honest
Maybe it will help
Maybe …
Our shadows
Will make friends
With our demons
Maybe we will make it
Past 27.

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