A sidearm of reality

Most weekdays at about 4:30 I can expect a call from my buddy and Masonic brother Jeff. He likes to call me on his ride home as he is stuck in traffic. It’s his time, no wife and small children demanding his attention and he chooses to call me. It is a special friendship, and due to his complete dedication to his family he doesn’t have many. This is not lost on me. The respect I have for him is immeasurable and his friendship will never be taken advantage of. It should also be noted that he is one of the few people that can say whatever he wants to me without fear of offending.

Yesterday, true to form I got his call. I was happy to hear from him.

We talked about the usual stuff, his family, his job, the state of our Masonic Lodge. He never fails to prod me about my health, knowing that I usually sugar coat it he pushes me until I tell him the truth. I’m not sure why I try. Yesterday, the conversation took an unusual twist.

“So, you mentioned that you bought a new 9mm last month. Tell me about that” he said.
“Not much to tell, bud. I found a good deal and I bought it”, I replied.
“Do you carry it?”
“Of course.”

The silence on the other end was deafening. Finally, he spoke.

“I was going to save this for a face to face, but I need to get this out”, he said.
“Get what out?”, I asked him.
“Why? There, I said it.”
“Because I can, I suppose. My father always carried. I believe in the Second Amendment. I like to be prepared to defend myself or be a good Samaritan. I feel very comfortable with it strapped to my waist. And before you say it, I’m not looking for trouble.”
“Listen”, he said. “I’m all for it, the whole Second Amendment thing. The protection of life and property, I get it. But you’re…”
“I’m what?”
“You’re different.”
“How am I different?”
“People in your situation are prone to Depression. I read up on your condition and there is a very high suicide rate in CKD patients and dialysis patients in particular. I’m worried that you might use the 9mm and take my buddy away.”

I thought for a moment. I couldn’t argue with his facts or begrudge him his motives. He is a great friend.

“Jeff, you know me as well if not better than anyone, but when have you ever seen me exhibit signs of depression?”
“Truthfully, I haven’t. But I can’t believe that you haven’t with all of the shit that you’ve been through. And I know you lie to me a lot when I ask you how you are.”

He had me there. Guilty as charged. My entire family accuses me of the same thing. And they all think that I must be depressed. But I’m not a Theater-trained actor, I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m a terrible liar. Yet they, and now Jeff don’t believe that I’m fine.

I explained to Jeff that I’m fine. He apologized for speculating as to my mental health. I assured him that it was fine, that his reasons were admirable, and thanked him for his concern.

After we hung up, I thought a little deeper on it.

I have lied to a lot of people about my health, not to worry them or out of a desire to just be treated normal, not as the “sick guy.” But I never lie to myself. I am not depressed.

My Doctor’s, my family, the nurses at my clinic constantly ask how my mental state is. It’s no big secret that patients like me get angry. Angry with life, with God. One guy committed suicide last month. He left a suicide note that simply read “I cant take the pain anymore.” It’s a real thing.

But not me. I am the anomaly. I am the happy patient. The jokester. The guy that plans for his next good day instead of living for treatment days. I really feel ok most of the time and most importantly I still find JOY in life.

I have a wonderful family. I get along famously with my ex-wife. My relationship with my children is tremendous. My oldest daughter tells me she loves me almost every day by phone or text. My oldest boy trusts and confides in me all the time. When he had food poisoning on Monday, he called me at 6:30 AM because I was the first person he thought to call. My youngest boy both admires and respects me and looks forward to opportunities to just sit and talk. My youngest daughter, she adores me. She tells anyone that will listen that I am her best friend. My mother, she welcomed me into her home at the lowest point in my life and has made me her first priority. All of these things equal one big conclusion.

These people are my reason for living.

If I was to die of natural causes, something I work hard at trying to avoid, they would be sad. If I committed suicide they would be devastated. Bottom line, I recognize the lure of suicide but I could never willingly cause pain to the ones I love. It’s selfish. And that is not me.

So where does the gun fit into all of this? Does anyone think that I didn’t think about the suicide thing when I decided to purchase it? I thought long and hard and I decided that it wasn’t an issue. Because I’m secure enough to know that I’m not at risk. I am a perpetually positive person with things that I want to do and places I want to go. There are weddings I want to go to and future grandchildren I look forward to bouncing on my knee.

The gun is just what it is. Protection. A sense of security. A manifestation of a Constitutional right. And maybe, just maybe, it is a reality check. Knowing that I can end it any time can keep me on the right path and in some morbid way, remind me to look at what I have to live for.

We all need something like that in our lives.

26 thoughts on “A sidearm of reality”

  1. Oh, B, you have me bawling my eyes out over this post. You’re so strong and I’m so weak constantly blogging how miserable I am albeit in a humorous, profane way. It makes me feel like shit that you my dear friend are much worse off than I but you have the most amazing attitude I’ve ever seen considering your circumstances. I have a concealed carry permit but my family refuses to let me have a firearm in my possession. Not because they think I’ll off myself….they think perhaps I might off someone else during one of my vicious meltdowns. Funny, not funny😏
    Are you able to have a kidney transplant? If so, I will totally go anytime, anywhere to see if I’m a match. I’d be honored to do so for such an amazing human being such as yourself!xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Such an amazing response. It’s not a competition, we all blog for one reason or another. It helps me cope. But I don’t take myself seriously and that’s how I get through.
      I am being tested for a transplant but they’re being cautious because it’s my second one. The first only lasted 5 years.
      Thank you for that amazing gesture, it means more to me than you know

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much for your kindness and perspective. I hold it in high regard.
        If it doesn’t work out please let me know. I believe in paying forward and doing things that can never be repaid. That is the purest and truest joy to me in giving. I’m an Empath and highly sensitive to intuition, vibes and emotions, even more so when I “click” with someone. I’m totally serious😇

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re a great person and I thank you for the amazing gesture.
        It will work out. For now, all I ask of you is that we keep reading each other and keep trying to change the world

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What an outstanding friendship! What incredible joy to have such healthy relationships with your children and ex! It can and is being done. You are a prime example of what that looks like. It is your right to carry, we have carry and conceal laws in Minnesota, as long as you are licensed you can carry a concealed weapon. I grew up with guns in the home. Hunters and a cop, military and farmers. I know what guns do, I know what to do to keep myself and others safe. I was in a car accident and suffered a pretty severe head injury, result of whole fiasco is much pain and diagnosed clinical depression. Eventually, I removed all access to guns because of it. (Sometimes irrational though tricks you into making bad decisions.) I don’t see this ever happening with you, especially because you had the guts to think about your options and their consequences. The hubby used to train Boy Scouts on the shooting range, receiving their merit badge after passing the course. He, himself, is an excellent marksman. I think people get confused, having a gun is (in part) knowing you never want to use it BUT can. Also, target practice is fun! It takes skill! So, I get it Billy. Enjoy your new 9mm side arm!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Kim. Steve said it best, you don’t need a gun to kill yourself if you really want to do it.
      We have Constitutional Carry in NH. No permits, just pass a background check. Everyone in NH carries, guaranteeing the safety of each other.
      Yes, I do have wonderful relationships that I’m very proud of. They keep me on the straight and narrow

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Billy, I agree with Steve. And I’m excited to return to competitive sport shooting! The hubs is really ready! I think it’s been long enough. It was a self imposed access denied. But if someone want to off themselves, they will. Besides this posts was about examining your motives and I found it was an important lesson for me! Take the time to think about what it means to be responsible. Who brings you joy? What do you have to live for? So many examples of rational thought in your post. Thanks so much, Billy!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I often think about this. How terribly unfair and selfish a suicide is. Not everything is about me. It’s aboit the people who care. The illness is hard for them as it is.
    You’re unique in that regard. Besides, I love that you always think about things a little deeper.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are blessed to have such wonderful people in your life. It is a gift, and one I can see you do not take for granted. It is important we have people we trust who understand, who see things as they are and aren’t afraid to show they care.
    I only told Bro in NZ about my cancer in 2016. I didn’t tell my Mum until after my op. She had dementia and was living with my sister. I knew she would get upset, ask a lot of questions and worry. I did not want that. We waited until we knew what we were up against and then I wrote my sister and other brother a letter. Mum guessed though, and I made light of it, showing her the small scar as we had found it early and I only needed raidiotherapy.
    Bro was great, even all those miles away but I am closest to him and always have been. I had a lot of support through my blog and also friends in the boating community, so I was surrounded by positivity. I too am blessed to have such wonderful and caring people in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

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