My Reasons for a Journal

Cover of "The Diary of Anne Frank"
Cover of The Diary of Anne Frank

Dear Diary,

I really have to find a name for you. The idea of talking to a book, (an intangible presence, really), doesn’t appeal to me. Maybe I can find one from one of the novels that I’m reading?

I’ve kept journals before, but it has never worked out. In those past journals, I wrote in a flow-of-conscience style. Maybe if I give a journal a sense of existence, or persona, maybe this time will turn out better. This whole idea of personifying a journal came from Diary of Anne Frank, whose author adapted it I cannot recall, right now. I like the idea of writing about myself, the things that happen to me, my thoughts and showing my “poetic side” so that, when I die, people can read this and gain an insight about me.

Probably another fact that has urged me to start another journal was my brother’s death. He died on Saturday, December 2, 1995 — right before Christmas and the New Year. You can just imagine the Christmas spirit then. He died from the fatal combination of alcohol, sleeping and caffeine pills. These chemicals caused a seizure, then a heart failure. Without any further evidence, we could probably conclude he was “just stupid,” and accidentally took those substances at the same time. But, there was evidence. When my mom came home that morning from the hospital, she found the bottles that contained the alcohol, and the crushed beer cans in his back pack. She traced the cans back to a stash that my father kept for “special occasions.” My dad doesn’t drink much. The beer in the sports bottle (6 cans worth) were stale, meaning he probably planned this, but didn’t have “the guts” to do it. The pills were in a stash, the empty containers in a pile. It looked as though he took more than two, my mother had said. My brother wasn’t that stupid to take an overdose and not know it. Also, he did not drink. If he did, he wouldn’t have poured six cans into two sports bottles, knowing very well the carbonization will go away. It was the duct tape and note that finally convinced me that it was a suicide. My dad swore the duct tape didn’t belong to him, (it did look fairly new). So, my brother must have wanted it kept as a secret. The tape looked as if it was about to be used. It looked as if he was pulling for a strip, but dropped it before he could cut it. So, it was crumpled and wrapped together in a tangle. My guess is that he knew the combination of substances would result in some kind of “noisy reaction,” so he planned to quiet everything by covering his mouth with duct tape. (He studied medical topics and subjects of such sort before he “turned bad”).

The other evidence was the letter, which stated: “Sell my CDs, CD player and my chair for money, (maybe for a tomb)… I’ve reached ‘the point of no return’.” He quoted that last phrase from “The Phantom of the Opera.” He and I loved it very much.

So, when he passed away, I thought it would be a good idea to have a journal that my descendents may read. My brother didn’t keep any journals I could read. Everything I had to “dig up” and analyze and figure out the details. It would have been… easier for all of us if we knew what he was going through. But, I guess when you’re about killing yourself, you don’t think much about anyone else.

Thanks for listening, Miri.

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  1. I came across your website and found this entry which brought back memories that had not been accessed in so many years…I haven’t thought about Kenson in a really long time but when I do the memories are so vivid. You know I used to talk to him on the phone for HOURS. I remember talking to him on the pay phones outside of the Pasadena library when I had been dropped off by my parents and was supposed to be “studying”. I felt so guilty after his passing that I had spent so much time getting to know what was in his head and yet couldn’t make enough of an impact to change his mind or pull him out of his “point of no return”. I remember really vividly the evening when you and your mom came to pick me up from my house – both of you wanted to know when I knew…when my last conversations with him were about…if I saw this coming. Do you remember this? I remember trying to be honest but also acutely aware of not saying anything that would make your pain worse, especially your mom. I remember how desparate she looked for answers – any answers…and now even reminiscing about it – breaks my heart in a completely different way since I am a mother now.

    He was so dang smart. We had so much to talk about. I tried really hard to get him to see beyond his immediate thoughts of depression…and he was supposed to call me…I made him promise. I was pretty pissed at him that he didn’t follow through on his promise.

    Anyway, thanks for giving this opportunity to reflect. And by the way, I totally disagree with your position on gay marriage and your Satan reason is ridiculous. Here is a question for you to contemplate, now that you have kids (who are beautiful by the way – and congratulations on Hannah!) – could you look them in the eye and yourself in the mirror and make those same statements? I’m not one to get into heated debates – I am not a “blogger” by any stretch of the definition – but since I was writing to you anyway and read a little bit of your blog on the topic…

    Hope you don’t mind the random timing and venue by which I am writing to you – but thought you would appreciate the candid and honest thoughts. BTW – Is “L-Y-” in your January 1996 blog me?


    1. Hi LY,

      Thanks for stopping by! Yes, “L- Y-” was you. That reminds me to continue going through my old journal entries to scrub names.

      I think about Kenson, often. Not everyday, but when I pray for people who have died, he’s usually at the top of my list. I figure one of the best ways to push yourself away from God is suicide. So, I pray and fast for Kenson a lot. The combination of my mother’s prayers and mine would appeal to someone in Heaven. There’s no way I can know until I’m in Heaven myself, but I think Kenson’s in a better place.

      I blocked out his death until my first semester in college. I ended up writing about that whole experience in my English 100 class. It was therapeutic; I was sobbing at my keyboard when I wrote it. I should dig it up again and put in the cloud for posterity. My daughters should know about their uncle in Heaven who’s watching out for them.

      There’s a Chinese superstition that when a grasshopper shows up on your wedding day, it’s an auspicious message from an ancestor. During our Tea Ceremony the day before our wedding, Anne Marie and I saw a young, pale-green grasshopper hanging on the doorpost to our house. There were a lot of people around and incense burning in the air, but the grasshopper just hung out there until my mother noticed it. My mom says it was my brother giving his blessings to our marriage. Catholics aren’t supposed to be superstitious, but the message wasn’t for me. It was for my mom and her interpretation was beautiful. After my mom told us that, the grasshopper flew away.

      Thanks for your challenge regarding my gay marriage reflection. I’ve been thinking about it for the past few days. I’ll share my thoughts on it in a post, soon.

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