For the past week or two I had been trying in vain to get a hold of my plumber, George (briefly mentioned previously here), to finish up the new bathroom as we have finally tiled and such.
I tried and tried to leave him a message, but his voicemail said that he couldn't receive messages. I e-mailed, but got no reply. Finally today his phone let me leave a message, and I asked him to call me back so we could finish the bathroom and some other work that hadn't been done yet.
A few hours later, Serge, George's Russian apprentice, called me back. He left me a message, which I found odd as I usually talked directly to George.
When I called him back, he told me something that made me catch my breath.
He told me that George killed himself this past week. He shot himself.
Just like that.
When I was opening my restaurant, I somehow randomly ended up calling George to do our plumbing for the kitchen. The work was hard- a large portion of the floor had to be dug up for drain pipes, and the building's existing plumbing was a mess, to say the least. He and his guys did an amazing job, and considering how much work was involved and how long it took, we got a very fair deal with the price. Unlike the electrical, we never had any issues with the plumbing at that train wreck of a business venture.
I liked him- he was one of those straight-to-the-point people, which I always appreciate. I suppose that someone in a business where you have to give what are often very large dollar quotes to sometimes unreasonable people with sometimes unreasonable demands makes you that way. I felt like he was honest and just wanted to get the job done right the first time.
This is why, over the years, I have called him whenever I needed plumbing done at the house. If I feel I can trust someone, I will work with them as long as I can. They will always get my business, even if the guy down the street who I don't know will do it 20% cheaper.
George was a good guy. He had a sense of humor even when they had to rip my basement apart with a jackhammer to install pipes. He wouldn't let me help him haul out the rubble in what seemed like 4,675 5-gallon bucketfuls. If he said something was going to get done, I knew it would, eventually. I always thought he was kind of cute, truth be told.
I guess I don't know how one is supposed to feel when their plumber dies.
I feel bad for his family- Serge said that George and his wife had divorced a year or so ago, and I knew that he had four daughters. When he had finished work on the restaurant, my business partner and I told him to bring his family in for dinner on us, and one night he came in with his wife and family. His daughters were adorable and well-behaved, his wife seemed very nice.
He was young, too young- the same age my Mom was when she died- 44.
I'm not looking for a debate on suicide here, and I certainly don't think a "sorry for your loss" is in order as I really didn't know him, and really I'm not sure if I should even be thinking about this at all, but...
I am thinking about it and for some reason it bothers me. I know people's problems are often much larger than what anyone imagines, and I know that sometimes people can't be "saved", but it always breaks my heart to hear that a good, nice, valuable person felt such desperation and despair that they found this to be the only solution. It crushes my soul a little.
I guess all I can do is hope that his family can find a way to deal with this awful situation and eventually come to terms with it. I know first hand the chaos that ensues when someone dies suddenly- so many ends to tie up, so much unfinished...stuff. It can be overwhelming.
I hope they find some solace in a situation that- to me, seems incomprehensible.
Sorry you had to go, George. You'll be missed.
Of course you should be thinking about this. We are all connected.
Suicide sucks. I often mention playing darts in my neighbor Calhoun's garage. We play in his garage because the friend's garage we used to play in killed himself in the very garage that we used to play darts in. It was 2 years ago last month. And he even told a few of us he was going to do it. And can I tell you that it's the most selfish thing anyone can ever do.
Losing people sucks, even if it's a peripheral person.
I'm glad you wrote about this. I'm always so sad for people who are in so much pain that they can't see any other way out. I hope George finds some peace whereever he is now.
A person's death, suicide or not, wheter they are well known or not, is always a shock. I am sad for all parties involved, so yes, I am sorry for your loss.
As someone who has struggled with mental illness for the majority of my life, and as someone who has been close to suicide, it hurts my heart to think of other people feeling that hopelessness.
George wasn't just some dude you hired. You had a trust in him, and it's natural to feel disconcerted.
I am thinking of your George, an hoping his spirit is at peace.
Although you may not have been close to him, I am sorry for the loss of his life, to everyone that knew him in one way or another. Suicides are something we rarely hear of (unless it was someone we knew) - not reported in the news, no matter how often they happen... I imagine it's one of the most devastating kinds of losses, and I'm sorry that it happened. I hope he is in a better place now, and that everyone who knew him, especially his family, will heal.
I think suicide fosters a different sort of shock than other types of causes of death, because it's hard for most of us to imagine getting to a point where things are that hopeless. We've all dealt with some serious shit - you can't get to be in your late 30's without having gone through SOMETHING, yet most of us realize the bad stuff will pass and that's what gets us through.
I'm sorry to hear about this.
I am so sorry to hear about your George and I shed a tear for him. After my recent similar experience, I know how profound a loss like this can be. Thank you for your remembrance of his hard work and goodness. I hope he has found peace.
That's a huge shock. Poor George.
Suicide is only painless for the person who pulls the trigger.
One of my uncles shot himslef at the same age. He owned two harware stores in small twons in Georgia. It was stressful on him, on his wife, on his sons.
After he opened the second store, things got worse. The second store wasn't doing so well and he was spending more and more time working and seeing less and less of his family.
What the family didn't know was that he had started drinking. I own a business. I know what it's like to feel responsible for your wife, your children, your employees and your community you serve.
After the funeral, my uncle was literally written out of the family. Most of my family are in the Deep South. To their way of thinking, he was a quitter who absconded his responsibilities as a father, husband, and employer.
I thought they just compounded the pain and suffering of everyone. The man became depressed. He chose the wrong route to deal with it because the society he lived in gave him no alternatives.
In his small community, a man who shows weakness or reveals a frailty isn't a man. In my book, he didn't let them down...they let him down.
It's a dark, sad, lonely place to feel so hopeless that you truly don't think there are any other options. You wouldn't be human if you didn't feel badly for someone that you know and connected with to have gone through that.
One of my clients killed themselves a few months ago (she was a project-work client, so not someone I worked with regularly). It's creepy and it's sad but it's also selfish and cruel. Every person who takes their own life inflicts a lifetime of doubt and pain on their family and friends - could they have stopped it? Did they miss the signs? If only ... What if?
This is so sad. And right before the holidays too. I hope his family can find some peace and strength to get through this.
I, too, hope the family can find strength to get thru this... how tragic and awful. It is so sad...
I actually agree with Zibbs in that I find it a terribly selfish 'solution' but unfortunately have had to deal with it, in my family. Regardless of that, tho, his family, his loved ones, his friends, and yes... even you are the ones who suffer the most.
My thoughts are with you (whether you like it or not :P) and his family.
Tender, you are.
That's awful...it breaks my heart a little too.
a very nice eulogy for George..... it's sad when a person sees that as the only way out of some lonely misery..... my prayers for the family....
How surprisng and how sad. I think it is hard to be a periphery person to someone who commits suicide. You know them in a unique way, but aren't close enough to them to be involved in any of the typical grieving processes. It's hard and sad and just crappy.
It is startling when things happen seemingly out of the blue.
We had a guy who was about my hubby's age help us with taping our basement when we finished it two years ago - last spring he just died. Massive heart attack, not suicide - but he was only mid-40's too. I did not know him either, but it makes me sad to think about his family to this day.
I even cried.
Nice post Whiskey and a good tribute to what sounds like a good man.
It is always heartbreaking to realize that someone was in such pain. It also makes me sad to realize that we never really know what's happening in others' lives.
That is so sad. I'm sorry. :(
A few years ago, we had a painter named Joey that shot himself, too. It still bothers me to this day. He was always a happy, fun-loving guy and he had young children. It breaks my heart to think I had no idea he was in that state. If I had known, I would've tried to help.
I'm sorry to hear about George. I think it makes perfect sense that he is on your mind. It's very unsettling when someone you know takes his own life.
Last year I was driving on the interstate and I came across an accident scene right after it happened. I'll spare you the details, bu it was clear that a man had been hit by a truck. I saw another man crying hysterically along the side of the road. When I got home, I saw on the news that the man who'd been hit had run in front of the truck and that he'd had a wife and two little boys. The man who was crying had been driving the truck. I couldn't get it out of my head for weeks and I didn't even know them.
May we all be a little kinder and more understanding to everyone we meet... In the name of George.
makes me want to hug george.
makes me want to hug you.
It's such a permanent solution to what could be - and usually is - a short-term issue.
Crushes MY soul a little, too.
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