Making Sense of a Murder-Suicide

He had recently sent my younger sister an email, telling her she was missed at the class reunion. I saw photos of him on Facebook from that reunion and recognized him immediately. (The same could not be said about the boys/men at my own thirtieth reunion last year). Some sweet faces never change. His was one of them.

The news came to me inadvertently through a friend, who said she was still reeling from the tragedy. She assumed I’d heard. I hadn’t. I’d been out of town and paid little attention to the news. So, when she told me that an old friend, a boy from the neighborhood with whom we went to elementary and high schools had put bullets in the heads of his two young sons, his wife and then one in his mouth, the reeling began for me.

“What?”

This news is impossible to comprehend or explain. The note he allegedly left has not been released. According to my sister, his best friend had no insight. All accounts say he was a good citizen, a neighbor, a coach, a buddy. There didn’t appear to be any financial woes or domestic squabbles. But unfortunately, there were firearms in the house. And clearly there were underlying demons within this man, which led to a fatal and awful SNAP.

I don’t know if what remains of his family can or will forgive him. I don’t even know if God can forgive such inexplicable violence. All I know is that when we were kids, when our whole lives were still ahead of us, I liked him. I liked him very much. And all of us who remember him fondly are left with the unanswered questions and the charge to keep on living in spite of this horrible, practically unspeakable incident in our shared history.

Are we supposed to make sense of it? Can we? Perhaps the only thing we can do is hold our loved ones a little closer, be grateful for all we have, and treat this as a lesson in perspective.

Meanwhile, “Mange,” rest in peace.

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