I didn’t really know you, we met a few times when I got Schrodinger and you were a nice guy, busy with all your gear out on the acreage. I heard about you a lot though, through your mom. And I remember she and my mom used to talk about us, because we both went crazy around the same time. You were on meth and got manic, and I was on Effexor and got manic. It was that time when a whole bunch of people I knew had manic episodes incidentally. I’m not sure why it all happened in that time frame. I know it was just after Clint Alberta committed suicide jumping off a Toronto viaduct. I didn’t know him either, but I had friends who did, and I remember how it impacted the Aboriginal and Film communities. And so I heard about all the things that happened in your life too, I was really hoping you would make it.
I was at your funeral today. I was surprised to find out you were just 23. You did a lot in your life, and a lot of people really loved you. I’m sure a lot of people are asking why right now. And I know why. I mean, I don’t know your specific reason, but I know the feelings you must have felt. I know how scared you must have been, and desperate. I know what it’s like to have a night where you’re not sure there will be a sunrise. I know how time slows down, how every minute aches.
I know what that kind of pain feels like. And I know how alone it feels.
Sometimes people think people who commit suicide are selfish or spiteful, but it’s not true, not with the people I’ve known who’ve done it or thought about it. It really does hurt that much.
I don’t think anyone can judge you for what you did, because I don’t think anyone besides you knows exactly how much suffering you were in. I wish this was a world where people like you and I had less barriers to living with bipolar, places we could have met and talked and figured out things we needed as a minimum to be able to survive. And the sad thing is, you were doing it, you were figuring out how to make a good life for yourself. Even then it happened.
It’s the one thing I hate the most about bipolar, knowing I’ve been trying to check out for the last twenty one years. I hate it. I don’t know why I never did it. I wasn’t smarter than you, or loved more, or anything. In fact, I even did meth for a while when I was nineteen too. Why does one person make it and another doesn’t? There’s no answer. It’s the mystery of manic depression. It’s a brilliant, funny, scary, deadly disability. And it’s so complex, there aren’t easy answers at all.
My friend Elaine was so lost for a while after Clint died. They were going to make films together, he was just waiting for her to get out of Emily Carr. A lot of people had big dreams for him, and they had big dreams for you too. It’s going to be rough seeing how much this impacts all the people in your life, and people you might not even have known well. I know you’re in a beautiful place, with people taking care of your battle scars from this round on earth. I also know I can’t think about that beautiful place you’re in right now, because it’s too damned alluring sometimes.
Jesse Allan (Duvall) Loewy
July 24 1983 – January 28 2007