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Chapter 010 A REALLY bad day

It was May, 1962, and we’d had our camp for almost a year. With the onset of spring, my thoughts, which were never far from camp, turned there almost constantly. And then one day camp changed instantly for me – forever. The phone rang and my dad answered it. His face turned ashen, and he sunk into a chair. “We’ll be right over,” he said and hung up. My beloved Uncle Eskie was dead at the age of 54.

We took the 30 minute drive to the house in Brookline where Eskie had lived with his recently deceased sister Charlotte and his brother-in-law, Billy. When we got there, I went upstairs and approached the open door to Eskie’s bedroom. He was in bed, in his pajamas, propped up on a bunch of pillows, an open book in his lap, his reading glasses still on his nose, familiar features unchanged – but not moving, not breathing – the life force I had loved so dearly just… gone.

It wasn’t until four decades later that I learned Eskie had committed suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills. He’d left a note basically saying he was tired and had had enough. I don’t know exactly what the catalyst was that caused him to finally give up that day. Clearly Charlotte’s death must have contributed to it, but even before that he wasn’t happy, though I always found his company enjoyable. I suspect in his solitary moments, demons we can’t begin to know, came to him. Some family members were angry with him for leaving them or for not letting them help him. Not me. I figure he did what he felt he had to do. Only he could’ve saved himself, and he just wasn’t capable of that. But I still miss him and hope he found the rest and peace he was seeking.

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