Too many to count. So many ways. Some appear peaceful. Free from the demons. Free from depression, anxiety, despondency and fear. Free from pain.

I leave every one of these calls changed in ways that are likely too difficult to explain. I absolutely loathe when an individual does it in his/her home. As I often say, no one should have to see a loved one that way.

Over the years, I have read last words hastily written on paper, computer screens with instructions, warning notes on doors and apology signs to first responders. Most writing has a “I am sorry” once, twice, ten times in it. Then there are the very organized, those who guide us through the home with arrows and have left an array of letters addressed individually to family and friends. They leave out contracts for funeral and cremation services fully paid and financial paperwork or portfolios. They believe they are easing the burden.

There are couples who lie side by side on the couch, legs outstretched with the now all too familiar plastic bags over their heads and the nitros oxide tanks propped nearby. Those hit me deeply, viscerally. What conversations did they have or words did they utter to each other before they fell asleep forever? 

A recent incident that troubled me was a 60 something man who printed out a crude diagram from the Internet showing where one needs to point the barrel of the gun on the side of your head to kill yourself instantly. He lay on the bathroom floor, the gun nearby as well as a hand held mirror and the diagram. I imagine he saw himself before he pulled the trigger. He wanted to get it right. He did.