Apparently Colorado is part of an unfortunate region known as the suicide belt. Pardon me, but that is some shit.
I was driving in to work Friday morning and came up on some commotion in the three lane street. Rush hour traffic was zipping around and a sudden flash of brake lights sent people detouring to the left and right.
Not sure what it was, but something told me to go to the commotion. When I approached closer, I blocked as many lanes as possible with my car about 50 feet back. There weren’t any emergency personnel on the scene.
I got out of my car and walked to what quickly became apparent as a man on laying on the ground. I asked what was going on and was told that the man was attempting to kill himself by laying in the path of the traffic. It was a miracle that everyone had missed him to that point.
No one was speaking to the man. Just speaking about him while looming overhead.
Well, that’s not how I do things. I crawled down to the black asphalt and laid next to the man. He was well-kept. He had on a wonderful multi-colored shirt. The whites of his brown eyes were bloodshot from what I assume may have been crying.
I started to talk to him. His name was Kevin. He couldn’t live any longer with the difficult situation he was in regarding the custody of his teenage daughter. He was just a couple years older than me. I told him about my son. And you better believe I complimented that shirt. We talked about how fucking hard life can be.
We kept talking about his daughter, Z. She had gotten into some trouble; was in a different state.
I can’t imagine dealing with either one of those things with my child. No blaming, no judgements – holy shit. As parents we just want to do our best by our kids. I can’t even completely wrap my head around the pain Kevin must have been feeling by being away from Z and not wanting that to be the situation.
An older gentleman leaned over and tried to take Kevin’s pulse, but this woman in a pink shirt yelled to not touch him. That older gentleman said he was a doctor and immediately disappeared.
At one point someone said that Kevin was bipolar and he lived at an assisted living facility. The woman in the pink shirt worked at the facility. She was just gripping the phone and looked so exasperated.
I have no idea what the history of Kevin’s situation truly was, but he was hurting enough to walk into traffic and lay down on the pavement. There was no joke here.
Kevin and I just talked. No rushing, no pressure. Just talk.
This street that all this was happening on is so busy during morning rush hour that another doctor actually showed up before emergency workers. She was way better prepared and had the common sense to get Kevin and I over to the sidewalk. I stayed with Kevin while she asked him some medical questions. I told him I’d just chill until he was feeling better.
Finally Fire and EMT arrived. And I don’t mean that “finally” bit in a snotty way. This whole incident felt like it lasted 20 minutes and I bet it was less than 5. The Fire crew took over for the doctor. I stayed with Kevin like I promised. He finally looked at me and I knew he didn’t need me anymore. I think that may have been the only time he looked at me at all.
I brushed myself off and answered a few questions for the Fire crew. I left.
And sobbed, and sobbed. There was nothing more I was going to be able to do for Kevin. And that felt terrible. There is nothing I can do for so many here in the suicide belt.
I can preach to you all that you should be kind to everyone you encounter because you have no idea what burdens they carry. But that’s dumb, because you won’t. Someone will cut you off in traffic or in a line and that shit will be out the window.
So what? I honestly don’t know. If you can help. Then help. That’s all I got.