I never met Hermetic. For that I have no regrets, and yet there is a twinge in my heart every time I hear reflections on his life and his final days amongst us.

You see, September 10, 2001 feels all too much like June 6, 1994 to me. My user name on E2 is not an accident or a sick joke. The truth is that I should not be here amongst you. Sometimes I'm not sure I really am.

I took into account the feelings and reactions of the people around me when I decided to take my own life more than eight years ago. It just didn't matter. My pain was internalized and nothing really mattered. I could have won the lottery and had an orgy with supermodels and it would not have mattered. I had lost faith in myself and given up on hope. The end was all I wanted because the pain I inflicted upon myself was too much to bear. No one was to blame. There wasn't anyone who really let me down and no one failed me. I failed myself and I couldn't deal with being who I was any longer. The sorrow and pain of those left behind when anyone dies too soon, especially by their own hand, is a difficult burden. Yet sometimes the cross they carry is heavier than it really is.

I've seen two good friends take their own lives over the past fifteen years. Both had reasons I could understand. I was sorry to see them go but did not mourn their passing. One left before I did and the other afterwards.

Well, the priest he cries
Virgins ascending to the skies tonight
All day long
I have passed my time alone
When the church bells rung
I stayed out on the tower
In a dying sun

Dire Straits
Follow Me Home

I only knew one person who was close to Mick, and that was his wife. She did not have the opportunity to mourn his passing. His despair had come as the result of a foolish motorcycle accident. He was piloting the motorcycle and she was on the back. His pride convinced him he could make a manuever he could not make and she died in the resulting collision. That was something he was never able to overcome.

Bobby had been systematically molested by his father throughout his childhood, joined the Army after high school, went AWOL and was later put under psychiatric care. He fell in love with his social worker and moved in with her. Months of seeming bliss followed before he broke things off suddenly and moved in with his father, who had since been divorced from Bobby's mother and lived alone on his father's farm. Bobby was there for a day before walking out into the garden and putting a gun in his mouth. The memory of his father smiling and shaking hands with people at the wake haunts me to this day.

Reading emphatically about the people who knew Hermetic and felt great sorrow and pain at his passing, I have found something here on E2 I never expected to find. I can picture the days following June 6, 1994 had I not somehow found my way back here after my death. I can see how those who cared about me would have felt and reacted. I can understand that which I never could feel or understand before.

Penance was not why I came here
but it helps me understand better why I am here.