The weather here in Maine this week was glorious. Green growing grass, budding trees, and blossoms have all been swaying in a gentle warming breeze. I mowed the lawn for the first time over the weekend and it was surprisingly pleasant with my $20 yard sale push mower. I finished weeding out the hill garden and I’m preparing the gladiolus bed. I’ve got seed packets strewn all over the kitchen because this weekend is the “full flower moon” which, according to garden folklore, is the signal to plant. Astronomers might call it the “blue moon” but I’m calling it the “green moon.”
Tomorrow, there’s a plant sale in Bowdoinham and one in Durham, at the Eureka Community Center.
And even though the sassy daffodils are fading, the gaudily fragrant lilacs are blooming.
All these things are signs that the season’s turned and all’s right with the world. Life is everywhere. I considered hosting a “garden tour” on today’s blog. That would be the “happy blog personae” I strive to present. You know, the face to the world which says “all is well” and if it isn’t, it soon will be.
My friend texted me on Sunday evening. She’s a bit of a news hound, following local news with a variety of applications on her computer. She even had a police scanner back in the day because she lives in the country; I’d often hear the voices in the background when we talked on the phone. She asked me if I knew the identity of the body found on the Lisbon-Durham bridge Saturday morning.
I did not know anything about it. I got busy with the week and I put the thought out of my mind. On Wednesday afternoon, I drove to the post office and stopped for coffee at the local place. That’s when I found the answer. Sitting on the drive-through ledge was a collection can with the picture of a handsome 24-year-old man and his young family. I asked the woman working the window “what’s wrong with Tyler?” I had just seen him last week, either Thursday or Friday. He worked at the coffee drive-through or the walk-up window; he’d waited on me several times in the last few months. Handsome, friendly, and courteous, he seemed to have the world on a string. I remember thinking “that young man has a great personality; he should get into sales.”
The woman answered “he took his life.”
Yesterday, the local paper reported “the man found dead Saturday morning by the Lisbon-Durham bridge died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”
This is the third suicide in our town in less than 2 months; three men in a town of 9,000 residents. I was acquainted with two of the three and I know the family of the third. It’s a small town, remember? As I think about these things, the question running through my mind is “who told you your life didn’t matter?”
It’s an existential question and I have a few theories about who and what might perpetrate the big lie that one’s life doesn’t matter. It’s the stuff of time, history, philosophy, and theology and none of those topics can be understood by pressing a “like” button on a piece of plastic. But it’s a question worth pondering because it’s a loss to everyone when three men with something to offer the world listen to the lying voice in their ears telling them their lives don’t matter.
Their lives certainly did matter.
If you’re in Lisbon Falls on Sunday, May 22 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., please stop at Aroma Joe’s and buy a coffee or two. 100% of the sales during those 4 hours will go to the young man’s family.