Sandie Simply Says

July 26, 2009

“Suicide is painless”? I don’t think so…

Filed under: General — by Sandie @ 6:51 am

Disclaimer: This post is a bit heavy for a Sunday morning and I apologize, but the topic has been weighing heavy on my mind the last couple days and I’m hoping typing it out will help provide some release for me.

“Sergeant Debari shot himself last night.”

Those were the words that rocked me to my core 14 years ago. Many of the events from that day are still tattooed in my memory.

The phone call from a mutual acquaintance, distraught because she couldn’t get ahold of Dominic. He’d called her the night before and told him of his plans. She tried desperately to talk him down and thought she had (she lived about 2,000 miles away or I’m sure she would have been on his doorstep). I often wonder how she revovered. Does she still think about it? Wonder what she could have done differently? Wonder if her words that night had any effect on him? I hated that I was the one to tell her (and I shouldn’t have…I broke some rules by telling her, but I knew they were good friends and when she told me she’d been on the phone with him the night before, I really only confirmed what she already in her heart knew).

The multiple phone calls from his wife. These were probably the worst. No these WERE the worst. She called, sobbing. Only wanting to talk to our commander, who refused to take her phone calls (he had the lamest ass reason: claimed he was only “following rules” and he couldn’t talk to her until the next of kin notifications had been made. So he leaves me, the 24-year-old kid, to answer her calls and deal with her. Prick.). After the fourth tear-filled phone call from her and my fourth trip into my commander’s office, only to hear him say, “Tell her I’ll call her back,” I spoke the boldest words of my young career: “YOU tell her you’ll call her back! I’M not getting on that phone and telling her once again that you are too busy to talk with her. She’s sobbing on the phone and just needs to speak with you.” He was picking up the phone as I walked out of the office, so I guess it worked.

And then there was the way the commander broke it to the squadron. He called all of us together in a small grassy area between two of our buildings and said, “You all know Dominic Debari? He’s dead.” And that was that. Left those that didn’t know in a state of shock. He did go on to say counselors would be available and the chaplain was already there, blah, blah, blah. But I’m sure many people missed all that, reeling with the shock of what he had just said (I know I was and I already KNEW Dominic was dead).

I think the most shocking part of all of this: nobody saw it coming. Dominic was seemingly such a happy person. Always had a smile on his face and a joke to tell. For months after he killed himself, I kept expecting him to bounce into my office with a big ole smile on his face and throw one of his one-liners at us (it only stopped because I moved a few months after it happened). Only a select few knew the demons he was fighting. It was until later that I learned that his wife and 6 kids has moved to Oregon and that one of his stepdaughters had accused him of molesting her (I don’t know enough about the circumstances to form an opinion one way or another on if this actually happened or if it was a teenager crying out for help. Part of me finds it incredibly hard to believe that Dominic would ever do something like that, but another part of me thinks you never know what goes on behind someone else’s closed doors). I think the only person who wasn’t shocked at the news was our first sergeant (who knew all about his legal problems). He told me that once they told him Dominic hadn’t shown up for work, he knew what had happened. I’m not sure he was prepared for what he saw (the first sergeant, along with some of the base cops, were the ones who found him. They’d gone to his house to find out why he hadn’t shown for work. Dominic’s weapon of choice was a shotgun and I’m told half his head was gone).

I have a friend dealing with the aftermath of a suicide right now. One of the members of his squadron killed himself a week after my friend arrived in Korea. While he didn’t know the young troop personally, he is left to help others pick up the peices and try to answer all the whys. Of course, anyone who’s ever dealt with a suicide knows that you never get a good answer to all the whys.



  1. Ugh, sorry you had to go through this. Suicide is the most selfish thing a person can do, ever. My aunt killed herself about 7 years ago and her kids are still struggling to get their lives together.

    Comment by Casey — July 27, 2009 @ 8:03 pm |Reply

  2. It is always so unfortunate that suicide leaves so many questions unanswered for those that are left behind…what seems a way out for one, always leaves a ghost hanging for those who are still here.

    I am sorry. šŸ˜¦

    Thinking of you today.

    Comment by Tina — August 1, 2009 @ 9:59 am |Reply

  3. I will never forget this day either for the rest of my life. I was in the 9th Comm Squadron at Beale AFB, CA. I knew Dominic. He was a golf buddy. He was an umpire for our little league baseball team. what a role model! One of our coworkers heard the arguing. He did NOTHING so he wouldn’t have to be involved. A pitiful excuse. I put some blame on him. He could have stopped Dominic and I yelled at him. I told him he was a coward for not calling 911 and getting involved. It might have saved a career, a friend, a husband, a father, and a LIFE. I too wish I could tell him hi. One day my friend, I will tell you hi again. I hope for family is taken care of.


    Comment by Troy — March 29, 2012 @ 11:09 pm |Reply

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