I've been wanting to write about this for awhile. And yet, I can feel my chest constrict as soon as I begin typing these words. This is heavy stuff.
I've had a LiveJournal account since 2002. And for most of that time, I've known Bruce. The thing about Bruce is that we never met in person. We had some mutual friends and acquaintances at Michigan State, but our entire friendship developed online.
Over the course of our 9 years blogging together, I felt that I got to know Bruce better than most of his friends or family. While I wasn't doing too much blogging, and certainly nothing more than skin deep, Bruce was baring his soul.
If I hadn't been a virtual hitchhiker on his journey, I never would have believed all the twists and turns in his life. He suffered more loss and more hardship than a person should have to endure in multiple lifetimes. To say he was resilient is a gross understatement.
Bruce was a person who just kept going.
He always looked for the good in a situation, and felt that God had something just around the corner for him. When he got remarried, and he and his wife had a baby boy...I really felt that the silver lining had finally turned into his own 'happily ever after.'
I feel as though I cannot adequately convey the depth and extent of the trials that Bruce encountered. However, to go into detail somehow feels like a breach of confidence. The thing about Bruce was that you could truly make a Hollywood movie out of his life. Except there's no happy ending.
On October 23, 2011, Bruce shot and killed his 18-month old son, before killing himself.
In the months prior, his wife asked for a divorce. And as so often happens, she was particularly nasty about it. Then it came out that she was having an affair. Bruce could see his "happy ending" sliding away from him. He felt powerless to stop it. He worried and worried and worried that he would lose his son. He'd been a stay-at-home dad from the time Lucas was born, and he couldn't bear the thought of losing him. Then the man who was sleeping with his wife, wrote him an email saying that Bruce "should do the world a favor and just kill himself."
I imagine there wasn't one singular event that triggered Bruce's horrible actions. Rather, it was probably a building depression, a deepening despair. I cannot help but wonder if there was something that one of us should have seen. We knew he was depressed and losing hope...but we also knew how much he loved his son. We thought that would hold him together.
I was in India when Bruce murdered his son and took his own life. I had been praying for him fervently in the weeks prior. When I returned home, I sent him a Facebook message to check in and let him know that he was still in my prayers. After about a week, one night I realized I never received a reply. For a guy who was always blogging and updating FB, it just felt off. I immediately felt a sickening feeling and almost didn't dare to investigate.
The shock, sadness, and grief at my discovery were overwhelming. How could he?!?! This person I've "known" for 9 years....he could never do that. Would never hurt a fly. Didn't even own a gun. How could he?!?!
I still don't have those answers. Never will. I obsessively read every single news article on the Internet about what happened. Somehow, I expected that to give some deeper understanding or perspective. Instead, it did the opposite. While I cannot defend Bruce's actions, I can honestly say he was a good person. When you read the news and it's a stranger...that might seem impossible to reconcile...and yet I know it to be true. I hated how they portrayed him in the news articles. But what does it matter now? Can I really expect a man who murdered his own child to be known or remembered for anything else?
In the months that followed, his Facebook page was removed....his websites taken down. However, LiveJournal still remains. And it's haunting without him there, filling the pages of my 'friends page.'
I miss you Bruce. I'm so sorry for the way things turned out. I still send so much light and love to you and Lucas. And to Dawn. She doesn't deserve the pain and suffering your actions have caused.
May we take a moment to send love, light, and positivity to all those who need healing of body, mind, or Spirit.