Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Marathon

Yesterday was the 113th running of the Boston Marathon. As I don’t follow it, other than to make sure if I have to go down there that I know when to avoid the route, I don’t know who the winners were. But it was a good day for it. Overcast and cool. No rain. Great conditions to run 26 miles in.

I prefaced this post with the above observance because I had to go to Boston yesterday for my second follow-up appointment. I saw the surgeon, Dr. Driscoll, at the Tufts/New England Medical Center. Because of the marathon, I thought we would have a more difficult time getting there, but we really didn’t; it took just over an hour to get down and a little less to get back. And good things happened; he took me off of the wound vac, and I’m “toe walking” on my left foot and using crutches for the next week. Toe walking is actually much more difficult than it would seem. It doesn’t help that I’m pretty de-conditioned from the time I spent on bed rest; this morning I almost passed out in the shower. That sucked. And it has become pretty clear to me that it will take a couple of days to get my legs back.

There has been a lot of reaction to Greg’s death. One of the commentators in my previous post sketched out what happened with him – he indeed did commit suicide with a handgun he’d bought earlier in the day. Since then I have talked with others that also knew him, and there was no indication prior that there was anything wrong. Others have indicated that he had some ongoing personal issues that maybe got the best of him.

I’ve given this a lot of thought. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten any closer to finding an answer to the question “why”. And we will never know. From where I sit there had to be issues under the surface that he was holding on to. And he may have felt that he couldn’t share what he was dealing with for anyone else. Perhaps he didn’t think anyone would understand. Or maybe whatever he was dealing with was something that was too personal for him to give up.

I don’t know if this is true or not; it is only speculation. Just the same, if I am right, it makes the circumstances of his death even sadder because it could have been prevented.

An individual I know made an on-line comment about the outpouring of shock and grief that really bothered me. This person, for lack of better word, called the majority of us hypocrites because we were guilty of giving him a hard time while he was alive and then publicly  expressed sadness when we found out he died. As far as I’m concerned, that is crap.

Anyone I’ve had an opportunity to talk with has been truly saddened by Greg’s death. He made the world we inhabit richer by his presence, and he will surely be missed by all of us. That is the truth.

Dysfunctional as we may seem, we’re a family. A motley bunch, certainly, but family just the same. The teasing and some of the more outrageous things we’ve been known to do to each other happen all the time, and nobody is immune. It is part of working in such close quarters with people that sometimes become closer to us than our own families. Greg knew this, probably better than most of us.

Before I close out this post, I have to share a memory I have. When Greg worked for Goffstown Fire, sometimes he and I would work shifts together. I normally work the Tuesday overnight, and for a while I didn’t have a permanent partner. Greg would often fill the shift with me, and it was always as unpredictable as it was interesting. One Tuesday night neither of us had brought dinner, so we got an order of Chinese from one of the local restaurants. Remember that he was tall and relatively slender (unlike myself), and we ordered close to $60 worth of food. By the time we were done, there were very few leftovers. This was unusual because Chinese food is known to be good for two or three additional meals. But not this night.

I am not a slacker when it comes to food. However, Greg put me to shame. And I couldn’t figure out where he put it. The next day he got on his bike and did a 40 mile ride before he had to go back to work – an overtime shift at RRA. He seemed to be in perpetual motion; between working insane hours and training for the EMS Ride For Life, I figure that he probably burned it all off by mile 10.

I always marveled at his ability to do that. And I will miss not having another opportunity to eat Chinese with him.

3 comments:

Pete said...

I had a neighbor commit suicide and it was the most unlikely event I could have ever imagined for him...saw him the day before, seemingly quite cheerful, interested in my doings and family, yet within 12 hours, he swallowed a muzzle and pulled the trigger...clearly it's far more tragic for those left behind as all they are left with are questions and doubt and worst of all, unnecessary guilt.

On a brighter note, glad to know your walking upright again.

Nick Stabile said...

Walt,

in our field we show love through giveing each other a "hard time". what some would see as cruel remarks and simply "making fun of someone" we see as a way to show that we trully care about someone. if no one in the firehouse makes fun of you then you are not well liked and. and greg knew that. i can remember when he met my wife and called us both scrotes for living at the address we live at. greg got that, greg knew that if you weren't joking and laughing and making fun of each other then something was wrong.
as for whoever commented calling us a bunch of hypocrties,while that does sting and is clearly wrong, lets chalk it up to a poor understanding of the culture we live and work in, the culture that TP loved.

NS

Walt Trachim said...

I couldn't have said that better, Nick.