THE END OF THE ROPE

by Steve Clem on February 23, 2011

Tom was really thinking about it.

After all, he was worth more money dead than alive.

Lost his job, lost his girlfriend, lost his home.

So Tom was ready to just say enough is enough. A sacrifice, he thought. “End my life,” he whispered to himself, “and help avoid further despair for my loved ones.”

How to do it? Pills? Running the car in the garage? Hanging? Slit the wrists?

There were only 4 people on the Earth that could keep Tom alive, and 3 of them responded.

Two of them were his sons. More on that later.

The other two were one of his best friends, Jenna, and his now recent ex-girlfriend, who was on the vacation they were supposed to be on together.

Jenna, knowing that Tom was at the end of his rope, called the ex-girlfriend. “He’s seriously scaring me. He’s not well and ready to do something stupid,” Jenna pleaded. It fell on deaf ears. “Are you going to call him or do I have to deal with this? Because I will just call the cops at this point to deal with it,” Jenna heard back on the phone.

Jenna knew what she had to do. She had to keep Tom alive.

Tom on the other hand, was not on the same page. The logistics phase of ending the pain of everything happening had begun.

The more he started thinking logistically, the more Tom realized that he would have a major problem when his kids got home from school. His ex-wife was on vacation this entire week, so he had his two sons for the entire week.

Shit. His sons would find him. Dead. While their mom was in Florida.

And Jenna hounded Tom. Every day. Made him rate his days on a scale of 1-10. There were a lot of 1’s. An occasional 2. Then he started having the occasional 3 or 4. Each time Jenna made sure to praise Tom for the progress he was making.

And Tom began healing. He started having a better relationship with his sons than ever before, because he had come so close to never being a part of their lives again. They could sense that somehow, in an innocent childlike way.

Tom realizes today that it would have been the biggest mistake of his life if he had followed through on his thoughts at the time. It’s been two years. Tom is happily enjoying his life, enjoying his sons, and in a new career path. Things are going great for him now.

The point of this story?

I am “Tom.”

Think about that the next time someone you know reaches out to you for help.

*This blog is dedicated to Jenn Mattern, for inspiring me to write this after reading her brave blog entry on mental illness as a single parent, and to “Jenna” for being my lifesaver.

* * * *

Steve Clem originally published this piece on the blog A Prisoner in the Tundra.

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