Tuesday, March 13, 2007

We'll Miss Ya, Richard ...

Sad news to pass along – Richard Jeni, a very funny comedian, one I was very fond of (not in a gay way), passed away over the weekend. According to some reports, it looks as if he committed suicide. I guess sometimes it doesn’t matter how successful one is, because success doesn’t always equate to happiness.

Jeni was very good with observational humor, much like Jerry Seinfeld, but probably with a little harder of an edge. He was one of the best at working a room, and he was able to generate new material rather quickly. He did manage to make it to the silver screen, landing a part in The Mask as Jim Carey’s bank work buddy. He was pretty good in this limited role. Additionally, he’s done a lot of commercial voiceover work in his time. Quite honestly, I’m shocked he never really hit it big with a sit com or a lead role in a movie. Sometimes, those are the breaks, I guess.

The suicide thing connects to me, not because I’ve ever tried to commit suicide, but because my older brother committed suicide. Don’t worry, I’ve learned to deal with it, but it is something I don’t think I’ll ever fully get over. But, I do want to make a sort of a public service announcement to you all.

In case any of you (or people you know) ever contemplate taking your life, just remember this – it’s never the easy way out, even though at times it may seem that way. I have had a difficult time forgiving my brother for what he did, not only to me, but more-so to my parents. The strong foundation that I had growing up was rocked by this, and has never fully been the same. My parents are very strong people … sometimes too strong for their own good. They have been conditioned to internalize many feelings - probably a product of growing up in World War II Germany.

I was used to this … but when their first son took his own life, not even they could hide their emotions. It was one of the most depressing moments of my life … I wasn’t even as depressed that I lost a brother – I was more depressed that my parents lost their son. Even as we approach the 15-year point of this tragic event, my parents have still not fully recovered. They thought, and continue to think, that it is a sign of weakness to go and get professional help in dealing with this. The worst part is that they think it is their fault TO THIS DAY that he ended it.

This is why I have trouble forgiving Albert for what he did. For even though he “took the easy way out,” he ended up taking part of my parents with him, and dumping his problems on the rest of us. During the time I should’ve been mourning, I cursed him. I couldn’t believe that he would do something so selfish, and never consider the consequences. It’s hard for me to put myself in that position, though. I understand from talking with others who have contemplated suicide that it’s not about being selfish, it’s about feeling lonely, and thinking the world would be a better place without their existence.

It took me 5 years to visit his grave. I’ve only gone back a few times since. I was lucky enough to have some great friends to help me through this. At the time, I probably should’ve gone for professional help, but I just didn’t know my options, I guess. My friends became my rock. They helped me through those first few years. I wish my parents could get over this, and I hope that this post at the very least puts things into perspective for any of you who may be feeling overly depressed.

Sorry for the depressing post – I just got off on a tangent with it. I promise I’ll be funnier next post.


Superstar said...

Los *sends hugs* sugar, you are so sweet. I know that as kids growin' up we all wish at times our sibblings would just DIE..But, it's so unnatural to loose someone like that.
I can't even imagine the feelings. I can empathize w/loss. I lost a close friend in a drinking/driving accident. It upset our WHOLE senior yr. I just kept thinking. WHY? What is the plus? How is this going to keep others from the same fate.
I applaud you on getting professional help. Identifying and dealing with feelings. SO very important.

~shakes head~
Thank you for sharing a slice. ;o)

Jeff said...

Normally, I'd make some crack about Karl's need for professional help. Some other time.

A friend of mine jumped off a parking garage in college. Nobody saw it coming. He was always happy and was at his fiancee's apt 30 min earlier. It stunk, and he wasn't a relative.

Suicidal people may not want to cause their families and friends a lifetime of pain, yet do it anyway. So it's totally selfish regardless of motive. And it's entirely preventable.

The ONLY good that came of it was that I was better prepared when my mother died a few years ago (of natural causes). Of course, I'd rather be less prepared and have my friend still alive.

At least it's not still an all-consuming part of your life. I hope you're able to help your parents get through the rough times.

Snowelf said...


I have never really wanted to write about this in my blog, but suicide has come at me from all angles of my life. I've been in your shoes(though it was a boyfriend, not a relative) and I've been in your brother's shoes too. Luckily, I got serious help and I don't even recognize the girl I used to be at that time in my life. I can't even imagine feeling like that again, but at the time, the feelings really consume you and you aren't yourself. You can't think past anything except what a waste of space and breathe you are to everyone around you. And you hurt. You hurt for a very long time more than you can ever put into words and then finally, it just all goes numb.

But because I went through that point in my life, I can deal with anything, ANYTHING that comes my way now. And I have. Nothing intimidates me and I am so proud of that. I don't sink, I just keep breathing in and out and await the better days.

So anyone feeling this way, I can tell you, it does get better whether you want to believe it or not.

I am so very sorry about your brother. And I know you've accepted it, but it's still a tough part of your life that you've had to swallow.


ToddPacker said...

"Sorry for the depressing post – I just got off on a tangent with it."

no need to apologize, los... i can't imagine living with a loss like that... you're a strong man....your parents sound a lot like mine... i wish your family well

The Rev said...

You know where to find me if you want to talk offline anytime.

Your family is good people. All of them.

Dirty Birdie said...

I am very sorry to hear about your brother Los, that's terrible. As a mother I cannot fathom the heart ache of having your child take their own life, what torture.

You're right, suicide is not the easy way out, and in truth it's the most selfish thing you can do. It wreaks havoc on the people that love you.

One of my best friends worked at the Improv Tempe for many many years and actually dated Richard, she's very upset.

El Padrino said...

death is rough
espeacially that way

if there is one cliche i believe in it's this :

time heals all wounds

-B- said...

Los, I did not hear of Richard Jeni's passing - so sad. He was one of my favorites.
I could not imagine what you went through, but you said it yourself about friends. Good friends can get you through anything - and it's a blessing to have them. Keep'em close. Anytime bro, you know how to get in touch with me.
I'm heading to my Uncle's viewing tonight and funeral tomorrow. I lost my Father last July. It sucks so bad, but It is very comforting to think that you will see these people again, on the other side. Whatever the "other side" is, ya know?
Man, I need some Ren and Stimpy now!lol

Reverse said...

I have never really been one for talking about death. Probably due to the amount of times my dad’s been in the hospital these past ten years.

I did grow up with someone who committed suicide. I found it ironic that he did it right as he graduated from dentistry school. To go through all of that school only to kill himself… I don’t get it. I knew his family pretty well, I just have a hard time talking to them these days. I just don’t want to remind them of the moment.

I had another friend who was murdered last year. Her boyfriend stabbed her then burnt the house down (with her still inside). It took some time but they finally arrested the asshole. The mother (divorced family) pretty much won’t talk to anyone who knew the daughter. She blames us all for the death of her daughter. To be honest I don’t want to talk about it either. I would rather think about the good clowning times I had with Lauren and not her final demise.

To wrap this up Karl, I don’t think it’s ever easy to deal with death. Especially the outcome that brought said death about, natural causes, or other. This is going to sound sappy, but you got me thinking sappy stuff right now. We’re on this Earth for such a short time, friends and extended family come in and out of our lives during those years to infrequently. Make better use of them people, less lies and more open truth. All I can recommend to anyone who is depressed, a drug user, and alcoholic, etc.., talk to someone and get help, it’s never to late to get help.

Los said...

You guys are all great, and I mean that. I didn't mean for this to be a "pitty-party for Los," believe this. I meant it more as a public service announcement. However, I (as always) appreciate your well-wishes. Thanks again!

Christina_the_wench said...


Ink and Stone said...

Wow, Los. You ever need to talk, you know where to reach me.

Depression is a mental illness and needs to be approached and treated as such. Sometimes it's chemical, sometimes it emotional... either way, there is therapy and medication to help level people out.

And seeking professional help does not make you or anyone else weak. If anything it shows that you are strong because you recognize a problem and face it head on.

Incidentally, both myself and my sisters gave been medicated for quite some time now... manic depression and schizophrenia run in my family. Down with mental illness!

More power to ya, bro.