Update: If you can donate, Dave’s family is trying to respect his wishes to be cremated. The Go Fund Me is here. The goal is $1500 to make sure his family doesn’t have to cover any expenses, since Dave did not have any insurance. Thank you.
When I was 19, I was ready to leave home. I was ready to make my own rules, and live on my own means, even if that meant living with roommates. And Dave was that first roommate.
Dave and I had mutual friends, some other street punks who were like brothers to us. Ptr, Dave, Jacob, and Mike were a solid crew and they accepted me as the big sister/mom right off the bat. Dave was a year younger than me, but he had already been through so much in his life. Alcoholism ran marathons in his family, as well as addiction and mental health issues. We decided that we would move into a two bedroom apartment on Grech Street.
Within a month or two, Grech Street became our favorite flophouse. It was me, Dave, Jay Couch, Richie, Brad, Jay’s sometimes girlfriend, Dave’s sometimes girlfriend Holly, and sometimes Le, and then Brent. Oh, and Jay’s two scorpions. (Lord those things SMELLED.) And don’t forget Jay’s pirate shirt and leather pants!
We were a motley bunch of kids, stretching our feelers and trying to figure out what life was going to be for us. Dave and I sat up and had many late night conversations about more than just the bills. He told me about some family stuff, some really sad and depressing shit that had occurred in his life. It’s not my story to tell here, but it’s the kind of shit that makes one SO MAD at what people can do to children and around kids. He didn’t have a good life, much less a happy one.
Dave and I moved out of the apartment after about 6 months. The bills got too high and some people relying on our gracious accommodations were running the AC at 55°. We had one dead scorpion (couldn’t get him out of the cage because she would attack), a layabout showerless pirate, a bunch of alcoholics, and none of us knew how to make ourselves take care of ourselves. It was a stinky mess, but I was so damn sad the day I left that apartment.
Dave and I went separate ways, but not for too long. Brent and I broke up a month after moving; let’s just say that eventually I tired of the fighting and breaking a dining room table with my butt was the last straw. Dave and I bumped into each other downtown all the time, and he was, well, a little off.
Dave wasn’t the same guy, even in a short period of time. He just had a flat demeanor, if that makes any sense. It was like something in him clicked off in the few short months since our lease was ended. He still had the driest sense of humor and still could make me laugh, but. It’s hard to pinpoint. We didn’t talk like we used to, and I always felt bad about it. (I’m the “saver of Wounded Birds”, Ben says. I see someone in pain or hurt, and I feel obligated to help them. It is both a blessing and a curse, believe me.)
Over the years, we would see each other less and less, but social media helped us continue talking. I would check in to see how he was doing, we would commiserate on various things, and then radio silence for a while. He told me that he had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. I didn’t know what it meant at the time, so we joked about it. Hell, he didn’t know at first. But he kept reaching out and I kept talking to him. We would see each other at various social gatherings. One night, we even got most of the Grech Street crew together. It was so sweet and fun, and almost like the “Good Ol’ Days”. Jesus. Now I sound like a geezer.
That night, Dave and his wife got in a huge fight. She took his kids, and left for Florida. My heart broke for him. He called and was so lost. I worried about his mental state. And I didn’t know it, but that was the start of the big downward trend.
Over the past couple of years, Dave and I would talk less and l would worry more and more. There were several alarming posts on social media. There was always a frantic scramble to figure out where he was staying, to see if we could get emergency vehicles there in time.
Dave was not a weak person, not by any stretch. He had endured through a life that didn’t fit him, a brain that didn’t allow him the space and time and grace to feel loved or accepted. His brain fought him at every step of the way, and he cried to me on several occasions, between yelling at me about how he didn’t want to live any more because it wasn’t worth all the pain and anguish. There was no “fix” for this. Hell, barely anything that could be conceived as a reliable treatment. And due to his condition, he rarely was in a good place to even get treatment. Half the time homeless, jobless, and unable to get assistance through the state or county. We tried to get him Medicaid, sliding scale treatment, nothing. It was a battle for him to just live, and here in this shithole state it was a battle for him to get help.
Dave made his final decisions yesterday. And while I am so sad that my old friend was unable to see his way through the fog, I am again mourning someone I’ve mourned for years. It doesn’t make any sense, but I empathize with Dave. I can’t say that I am happy for him, but I do understand, in a really fucked up way. I know most people won’t, and people will probably be mad at me, and I can accept that as well. We didn’t have to live his life, so we really can’t judge, can we?
Rest in some final peace, Dave. It’s ok, we will take it from here. We love you.