top of page

tearing the veil - the story of suicide


sensitive content

Matthew Charles Parker was tall and narrow, sun streaked blond with golden eyes, beautiful and stubborn. He drove a low, racy little red car with the seat pushed all the way back to fit his legs. He would shift gears and glance back in the rear view mirror, clicking a tongue piercing between his teeth. He wore crisp white Addidas Superstars and bright beaded bracelets. His raver JNCO jeans were big and baggy. He liked good, loud music. We laughed, we argued. It was the early 2000's.

Only child of a former cop, he was a little restless (we all were). More so than he let on. He had his mother’s nose, his dad’s brow ridge, his dad’s size, his mom’s color.

A few days before his 23rd birthday we went out with a group of friends to celebrate over Mexican food. We planned to see him again Friday. Two days later the phone rang. I was nursing my son and didn’t get up to answer. Later another call, this we picked up. Then the sound of screaming, phone dropped.

Matt went to a shooting range. Security cameras showed him crying in his car, trying to call people. Then he ambled inside and rented a gun, stepped into a booth took his own life.

The last time I saw Matt was in a small dim room. I stepped in, hoping there had been some mistake. He was zipped into a heavy plastic bag, duct tape gray I think, something he was too tall for. A white sheet was draped over top from neck to ankles. His hair was combed back, streaked in red. They rough patched the void in his head with putty. His lips were glossy with something, glue maybe. His nose seemed narrower. I kissed his face and my tears wet his skin. "I love you, I love you," I whispered, warming his face with my breath.

No grave, no photos online, no place to visit. His parents had him cremated, held a memorial, put his ashes in their safe and moved away. We never heard from or saw them again.

For a year my guts felt like they had been ripped out and set on fire. I would drive home with my hand in the empty passenger seat, choking for breath, grasping for his. 19 years later it feels like he's still around.

I don’t wait to tell people I love them anymore. When I see it I say it. It's like this: Whatever this is, however long we have, I love you with all the love I have. That’s it.

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.

I love you simply, without problems or pride:

I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving

but this, where I does not exist, nor you,

so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,

so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.”

- Pablo Neruda


bottom of page