I am coming into the six anniversary of the suicide of my good friend, Kevin Greim. He would have been 34. I had just returned home late Monday from a DBSA meeting. As I wrote here on HealthCentral in a post the very next day:
A new message was on my answering machine. It was from Susan, my ex-wife. In a quavering voice, she braced me for terrible news: Early Sunday morning, a good friend, Kevin, threw himself in front of a train. He was 28.
Four years prior to that, I was living on the opposite coast, in New Jersey, facilitating a DBSA group in Princeton. In walked Kevin, baseball cap on backward, exuding a goofy charm, picking up the pieces from a recent manic episode.
I did my best to make him feel welcome and to connect him with the other individuals in the group. In a personal blog from 2010, I reminisced on our little band. I recall reading bits and pieces at a talk I gave that year in Kansas:
We all had our issues to deal with, demons to wrestle, beasts to confront. All our lives were either on hold or at best in a tentative state of forward movement. The past was something we’d just escaped from, the present probationary, the future uncertain. Somehow, we found each other. Out from the cold of winter New Jersey evenings into the warmth of each other’s company.
But things never remain the same. One by one, we moved on. “Flora,” I mentioned in my talk, moved to the DC area and found a husband on eHarmony. I caught myself. “I almost said eBay,” I confessed.
In late 2006, it was my turn. My marriage had broken up. I boarded a train out of Princeton Junction for a one-way flight out of Philadelphia to San Diego.
Then it was time to mention Kevin. My breathing failed. I gripped the lectern and steeled myself to read the words on the page: “Kevin - alas, Kevin.”
I needed a break. I found some air to breathe. I struggled to keep my voice steady. I read:
On a miserable muggy September morning in 2008, just outside Princeton Junction Station, he threw himself in front of a train.
As I concluded on my original HealthCentral post:
He had so much to live for, so much to offer. Yet, on a miserable muggy New Jersey morning, his brain tricked him into believing something else. I can fully understand, even if I don't understand ...