Blocking Out the Trauma after Chad Raine's Suicide
I needed to share the song with you that will forever scar my memory of Chad. I had just fallen in love with this song by Harry Styles, Sign of the Times, and was playing it on repeat all week. It's a thing I do when I want to record a memory in my mind forever. I put it on repeat and fill the room with a fragrance. You've gotta listen to it for weeks and like 10 times a day, and then you will never forget that moment. You will never forget that feeling or that person. So someday 20 years from now, this is my song to remember Chad...a song that wasn't a Michael Jackson joke.
Harry has revealed that the song is about a mother dying after childbirth but to me it was the day I learned the details of how Chad died. Scott was laying on the sofa on the phone for about an hour just listening to you. I was sitting at my computer in the window of our Seascape apartment with my headphones in playing this song on repeat. I was watching the sea lions swimming around just thinking about how different life was. I was just wondering how I would have ever coped with the news if we were just right there in the backyard like we had been with you for a decade. We'd lost touch over the years. Scott would occasionally text Chad to take a look out the window to make sure things at the house were still ok. I'd occasionally see you post photos of the girls on Facebook.
One night Scott and I went up to our rooftop patio, something we didn't do all that often since there is a community lounge at the pool, but we decided just to take a bottle of wine up to our new set up. We'd just bought a sectional and I spiffed it up. The patio sat down too low, so to see our spectacular marina view we had to climb up to the upper level of the roof. That night we just decided to enjoy the space like it was our backyard in Ohio and Scott was scrolling through Facebook and saw your post.
He just said calmly: "Chad died."
I said, "What do you mean? Chad? As in Chad Raines?"
He said, "Yes, Shelby just posted this."
I read your post. It was pretty short and vague but our hearts sank. The first thing that came to mind was a car accident or a health condition. The next day Scott just said he had some feeling it was suicide. After he called you he was in disbelief. I was just numb. I just thought, Oh no, not again.
I told a couple of people and noticed how they had a very odd reaction. Usually when you hear of someone dying from an untimely death and you don't really know them, they react with a little bit of sadness for your loss. Like seeing the news reporting a tragic car accident. Which by the way, remember how we had our car accidents during the same month in 2003? We were both so shaken up. I had my Black Ford Focus and you had your silver Hyundai. Ugh, I just started having memories of you guys driving around the circle to pick us up to go to dinner somewhere like Max & Ermas. Haha, I remember that dinner. Chad was making fun of me for the way I said Guacamole. I still refused to try it.
So when Scott got off he phone with you, he told me the details. He decided to write everything down while it was fresh in his memory. I freaked out. I didn't read it. I was starting to shut down. I didn't want to know. I was starting to have my own flashbacks of Jack Christian and Stephanie Kane. I wanted those memories to go away. We were laying in bed in the dark and Scott just started talking. He ended up telling me everything and I just laid there trying to push my emotions down. I needed to burry them as deep as I could. I needed to make myself think of Chad as just somebody I knew. I needed to pretend that life never existed.
And I did. For two years. I came back to Ohio that summer for 3 weeks and didn't tell you because I wasn't able to deal with it. My stepdad was dying and I needed to be in Bluestone with my mom. I stayed at Stephanie's for several days and we started talking about her suicide attempts. I was just starting to feel like the luckiest and meanest person on the planet because she was still alive. I was beginning to ask myself why she was allowed to live and Jack and Chad didn't. You and Christine never did anything wrong to make them take their lives away from you...but maybe you felt like you did too. Maybe you felt like me but I got a second chance not to be a Reason Why Stephanie wanted to die.
A new show on Netflix was just released called 13 Reasons Why. Everyone started talking about it. I was staying in Bluestone while my mom was at the hospital with Bill. I just put the episodes on my phone and listened. I didn't really watch the show, I just laid in the dark and cried. I hadn't cried like that in a decade or maybe longer. I felt like I was reliving my life....but instead of Clay seeking answers after the fact, I was chasing Stephanie around Columbus in TERROR or 3 YEARS. I would go to sleep at Scott's house at night wondering if I would get a phone call in the middle of the night when she felt like she wanted to kill herself. I'd get a phone call while I was driving from Upper Arlington to Westerville and get a voice mail of her crying and screaming saying she went down to the Olentangy River to kill herself. I got the call at the Toy Store that I needed to go home and I found 8 police officers and 4 paramedics in our apartment looking for her suicide letter. I chased her home 5 miles when she refused to ride home with me and watched her come within 2 feet of cars driving 50 miles an hour down Kenny Road as she sprinted away when she saw me pull up.
The TERROR I lived was absolutely NOTHING compared to this Television show that was made up for the dramatization of suicide. There was one death and a mystery as to why Hannah took her life that unfolded after the fact. Nobody had to live in terror like I did, you did, or Christine did when threats and attempts did not work. Nobody had to pick up one of those tapes and listen to it wondering if they were going to have to make a life or death decision like I did to try to talk Stephanie out of killing herself. I just wanted to scream because it was not even a fraction of the fear that I lived in all those years.
But people were talking after Chris Cornell's death. Nobody could understand why he would take his life when he had a beautiful family and all the money and success in the world. I just wanted to say, "Do you think music + lyrics are a work of fiction?"
Scott and I had never spoken about what really happened with Stephanie or Jack. He claims I never even told him about that night I found the police in my bedroom. I have no idea. I blocked it out of my mind. I ran as far away from it as I possibly could. I wanted to scream at Stephanie for doing that to me if she woke up.
And I did.
To Be Continued.