Please use this blog to help us remember Joshua Lee Anderson, who made the tragic and fatal decision to take his life on Wednesday, March 18, 2009. Please post any memories or thoughts you may have in the comments.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

"The Catcher In the Rye" - Chapters 11 - end

The last post left off with Holden impulsively taking the train into New York City. As we follow him through the next 48 hours, his current depressive state is reinforced by random thoughts, what he sees and smells and events that occur when roaming around the city.

Random thought:
The more I thought about my gloves and my yellowness, the more depressed I got.
After being out at a bar, he comes back to the hotel lobby:
The whole lobby was empty. It smelled like fifty million dead cigars. It really did. I wasn't sleepy or anything, but I was feeling sort of lousy. Depressed and all. I almost wished I was dead.
He was solicited by a the elevator man/pimp:
It was against my principles and all but I was feeling so depressed I didn't even think. That's the whole trouble. When you're feeling very depressed, you can't even think.
While hanging the prostitute's dress up in the closet:
I thought of her going into a store and buying it, and nobody in the store knowing she was a prostitute and all. The salesman probably just thought she was a regular girl when she bought it. It made me feel sad as hell. I don't know why exactly.
Nothing happened and she leaves.  It is almost daylight.
Boy, I felt miserable. I felt so depressed, you can't even imagine. What I did, I started talking, sort of out loud, to Allie. I do that sometimes when I get very depressed.
The prostitute and elevator man/pimp comes back to Holden's room, wanting more money.  He resists and gets punched in the stomach.  After they leave, he takes a bath and tries to sleep.
What I really felt like, though, was committing suicide. I felt like jumping out the window. I probably would've done it, too, if I'd been sure somebody'd cover me up as soon as I landed. I didn't want a bunch of stupid rubbernecks looking at me when I was all gory.
I wrote these quotes in my journal because they describe how Holden's sad and lonely feelings spiral down a dark path to suicidal ideology.

My questions:  Is this how it feels to become deeply depressed in a relatively short period of time?  Is this what Josh felt that fateful night?  Can a teenage boy who was seeing a counselor for a year and never diagnosed as "depressed" become situationally depressed? And if it is acute enough, can the mind and body take the leap to suicide?

The next night, Holden was getting drunk in a bar.
I was crying and all. I don't know why, but I was. I guess it was because I was feeling so damn depressed and lonesome.
To clear his head, he filled a basin in the bathroom with cold water and dunked in his head.  Then he went outside in the freezing cold and walked to Central Park.  He sat on a park bench and began obsessing over the possibility of getting pneumonia and dying. He thought about his brother's death and how he was not able to go to the funeral, due to his hand.
I have about fifty aunts - and all my lousy cousins. They all came when Allie died, the whole goddam stupid bunch of them. I have this one stupid aunt with halitosis that kept saying how peaceful he looked lying there.
Reading this passage reminded me of Josh's funeral because he did look at peace.   Tim and I had never organized a funeral before - so many decision to make! And within 24 hours!  Trying to make good choices while in shock is indescribably difficult. Thanks goodness we had a close family friend and Tim's brother helping us out.

The funeral director suggested that we have an open casket for the public viewing. I knew a lot of Josh's friends would be in attendance and was concerned for them. How would they react, seeing their friend in a cushion-lined box...dead?  He said that it would be important for them to see Josh and say their good-byes. A part of me wishes I could've witnessed this rather than accepting condolences in the lobby. But it probably would've been unbearably difficult.

At the private viewing the night before, one of our daughters could not do it. She ran out of the room where Josh lay, surrounded by flowers, down the stairs and to the car, sobbing. I was in no condition to help her and thank God, one of our dear friends comforted her.  They talked and after a while, she was able to come back in.   So with Tim and I on either side, she said her good-bye to her brother, touched and kissed him - one last time.  It was hard, but in retrospect, she's glad she did it.  It makes me wonder if some of Holden's issues stem from not being at his brother's funeral.

The novel ends as it begins, with Holden in some sort of psychiatric hospital or sanitarium, telling his story.  We do not find out, however, what happened to put him there.  I wouldn't be surprised if the cause was attempted suicide.

Did Josh ever read this story?  If so, did any of Holden's thoughts and feeling resonate?  I don't know but wish I did.

RIP beloved son.  I wish you could've survived that terrible, dark night.  If so, maybe you would be here now.

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