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Surviving Suicide – Part 33

September 4, 2010


Just a reminder to all that Sept. 10, 2010 is World Suicide Prevention Day. I belong to an amazing fanpage on Facebook called the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) who along with the World Health Organization (WHO) host a worldwide day to raise awareness, give those who have lost someone to suicide a place to come together and all for suicide prevention. This is not necessarily a specific location, but some 20 countries are hosting actual activities and I encourage you to please check out IASP, they do phenomenal work educating and supporting those who have experienced the tragedy of suicide. You yourself can simply light a candle at 8pm by a window to show support and in memory of those who have died.

It’s a fanpage unlike anything I’ve seen before. So compassionate, understanding and supportive. Each new member is welcomed by name, when someone is hurting and posts they’ve got an anniversary of losing someone, or they’ve just lost someone – IASP post a candle to support them asking members to click the “Like” button in support or to post a kind comment. Please check them out and “Like” them to become a fan and help spread awareness about a subject that impacts 1 million a year who take their lives, that’s 1 every 40 seconds, or to put that into perspective – that’s like losing the number lost in 9/11 each and every day of the year!

May – September 2002 – Life Goes On!

Not much was recorded in May or June but we did go back up to a lovely 80 year old rental cottage that I rented with my brother and his partner. It was my refuge quite honestly. Was a long drive up, almost 3 hours one way, but there is just something about the beauty of Northern Ontario and this place, although rustic and needing some fixing up, was just spectacular. It was surrounded by whispering white pines and all sorts of trees, we looked out on the lake each night at sunset and the sun shimmered across the water like a river of gold. It really did my psyche/soul so much good being up there and we enjoyed it for many years to come on weekends and during holidays.

I’ve noted that June 3rd my mechanic Tony advised me that he’d been offered a job by another Firestone dealership in Brampton, which was much closer to where he lived. We never discussed pay, but it sure caused me some concern as he was my only licenced mechanic at the time. Nothing came of it, I never was certain it was true, but he remained with me.

The following day my new friend Peter came in and I’ve noted we had a great conversation for about 3 hours. Peter was so interesting and being a psychologist could really get into some deep conversations which I just loved. He told me once again to get out of Firestone. I was seriously considering it. On June 9th I must have been having a bad day as I recorded “didn’t get dressed or answer phone”, so things were still very much an emotional rollercoaster for me. Most of the time I could keep it together, functioned very well, but occasionally I’d have a really down day and wouldn’t fight it.

I can’t recall exact details now, but Bridgestone/Firestone was not helpful at all and took every opportunity to try to get me out. Didn’t make many notes in July so nothing super noteworthy must have taken palce, or I was just too burned out to be bothered to record.

August 2002 my mechanic Tony announced he was taking holidays from Aug. 15th until Sept. 3rd. He didn’t ask, he just announced and I was in no position as his employer to really tell him no or he could just simply quit and then I’d really be in troubles – and he knew this. I hated being at the mercy of someone for my livelihood. I’d had this when Rob was alive too and became very conscious of that fact the last month of Rob’s life when he more or less abandoned work and left me on my own. Now I was in no better a position 18 months later with my mechanic Tony, and I just hated that!

I’ve noted on Aug. 29th “What to do? Dash? Return customers’ tires, more aggressive”. I was considering very seriously to shut the shop down and knew I had to get my customers’ tires back to them which we kept in storage. The business was losing money and I had been personally funding it for quite some time to meet my obligations and was realizing it was a losing battle. That same night I’ve noted had a nice dinner at my son’s friend’s house with his parents, so interspersed would be nice times too.

August 30th I’ve noted “Sad day, customers picking up tires, many of them thanking me for giving them great service”. I hadn’t decided 100% to close down but was pretty close to it and knew I had to look after my customers before I did anything.

During August 2002 I was also filing a small claims court counter suit with our yacht club. I’d refused to pay the fees they were charging as they’d told me they’d waive them if I’d just move my boat to where they wanted it to go. When I wouldn’t move my boat, they hit with me fees. My boat was long since out of the yacht club, but when I wouldn’t pay, they sued so I had to file the paperwork for that in August also. The yacht club owed me money from a debenture, but they weren’t willing to apply what I owed against what they owed as the debenture wasn’t paybable as yet. Too many fires all at once.

In August 2002 I finally got an Offer to Purchase on my boat. I was absolutely thrilled! It was a couple from the yacht club who wanted to buy it, I could have done a private sale but the boat broker I’d been dealing with the most had been quite helpful to me, so I decided to run the sale through him so he could get a commission and then he’d look after the mountain of paperwork involved too.

I got an initial deposit in cash, then had to arrange for the boat to be recommissioned and taken off dry land storage and launched into the water for a sea trial. My boat was launched at the public marina Aug. 26,2002, not the yacht club as I was out of the yacht club and no longer a member. Don’t ask me why, but my intuition was telling me to be very careful throughout this boat deal, I kept meticulous notes on everything that transpired, but was hopeful everything would go right and I’d be rid of that big white elephant. My intuition later proved out to be correct.

Tony my mechanic returned from holidays Sept. 3rd and I told him I was thinking of shutting the shop down. He was pretty freaked out that I might shut things down, but he understood. I’ve noted on Thurs., Sept. 5th “I’ve had enough! – told Lou” and that’s when I’d finally gotten to the point of no return at the shop and called my manager Lou. I had also called for final meter readings on my utilities. I have a slow fuse, but once it goes off, it’s immediate usually and this was the day I blew.

The next morning Sept. 6th, Lou my manager, Andy my rep showed up at 9am and changed the locks on the door. Poor Andy who had been absolutely wonderful to deal with always felt really bad that it had come to this, and he unfortunately was given the task of “babysitting” me until I left the premises. I had very little time to gather up my things, but I managed to get the important stuff right away and arranged to come back under supervision the following week to get the rest of my things like files, office equipment, etc. So I’ve noted on Sept. 6th “Last day Firestone!”.

I remember driving home which was only about 10 minutes from the shop to my house, thinking holy kamoly! I did it! I really did it! I surprisingly felt relief, I think it had been building for so long that I was just glad the decision had been made, and although it was spur of the moment because I’d been pushed too far the previous day, it felt right.

September 10th I went back to Firestone with my g/f Kathy and my two mechanics showed up to help pack too. The 10th was also my wedding anniversary, which I had thought about but had not let it get to me as I had so many bigger problems to deal with. We had Andy there from 8:30am to 1:30pm and then we were more or less done. I was amazed at how quickly we got it all done. There was still all of the shop equipment, tools, hoists, etc. left but Firestone told me I’d be able to hold an auction to sell that at a later date.

September 12th I’d scheduled a meeting with my house builder to get some deficiences looked after that were covered by the new home warranty program. We’d bought our house in ’97, here it was 2002 and the builder was still involved and only meeting to go over what had to be repaired after I’d filed a discrepancy report with the warranty program which was government run.

I had so many battles on the go at the same time I didn’t sometimes know which end was up, but somehow I had the tenacity to get through it all. On top of it all, I’d arranged to finally get my landscaping at the house done and this landed in the middle of September too lol! That at least was pleasurable seeing my garden finally being done and I’d consulted with a feng shui designer so it was quite lovely and would have something in bloom all season. It was also nice to be home to supervise as it was being done.

My birthday was Sept. 19th and I didn’t do anything because we were going to celebrate it up at the cottage. My brother made a lovely dinner and they’d bought me beautiful diamond stud earrings to replace the one I lost while shovelling snow the winter before. Rob had bought me diamond studs for my 40th and I just loved them, but somehow, even with a screw-on backing, I managed to lose one, so the replacements were beautiful but I was absolutely shocked that they’d buy me something so expensive. I noted it was a very nice weekend and I so needed it!

September 26th I was back at the Firestone to get my file cabinets and Andy from Firestone helped me get them home too along with two other male friends of mine. September 27th I’ve noted that the boat financing fell through for the couple who were buying my boat who were using some financing company that the broker had recommended. They’d also applied to their bank as a back up. The following day September 27th I got a call from the broker saying that my buyers’ bank had okayed the loan and that the cheque should be ready Oct. 1st or 2nd. I was elated!

I had been going to the cottage every weekend throughout all of this, it somehow restored me and made me sane enough to deal with the next week, but I decided to stay home the last weekend of September as I was just too drained to get ready and make the long drive north.

I reflected on Rob’s words once again after closing down the Firestone. Rob had told me just before he died to “lock the doors and walk away”. I’d argued then that I couldn’t, but in the end, he was right and it’s basically what I ended up doing. I felt badly that 17 years in business had gone down like this, but I felt a gigantic relief too knowing that that part of my life was over and I wouldn’t have to struggle worrying about a failing business anymore and could just take time to breathe!

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