What a thing.

This morning my father, William Samual (billsam) Caldwell, killed himself in his bedroom.

I’m not sure what to say.  I have debated during the course of the day about whether or not to share this here.  In the end, it seemed in the spirit of the blog to talk about it.

He suffered from depression.  He was unable, or unwilling, to get help for it.  Unfortunately depression, while treatable, isn’t something that you can cure by holding someone down and giving them a shot.  We would naturally have done so!  In the end, taking his own life was HIS only solution.

In the darkest moments of this last year, I have never once contemplated suicide..  I can only imagine how one must be suffering to actually take their own life.

This afternoon I went into the shop to do a little work and clean the place up.  I start a round of chemo tomorrow, and as soon as it is done, I’ll be headed up to Vermont to pick up the pieces.  That will occupy the rest of my NON-chemo time before the whirlwind wedding tour begins.  Hard to imagine that today had to be my last for such a while in the shop.  My father wasn’t much of a dad.  He wasn’t a natural.  He sort of sucked at it.  I DID, however, cut my teeth as a fabricator in his wood shop as a small kid.  It felt right to spend some time in my own shop remembering him.  I played the Dire Straits.. a favorite of his.. and spent some time thinking of the old man.  Rest in peace, billsam.

0 Replies to “What a thing.”

  1. A friend took his own life not so long ago, and since there’s nothing anyone can say that is particularly comforting or consoling, I just say that I wish you the best and I’ll say a prayer for you and your family.


  2. I’m so sorry for you and your family. And I’m sorry that he, and others, through no choice of their own have had to live their lives with the devil.

  3. I’m really not sure what to say other than thanks for sharing this. The one fortunate thing about others’ tragedy is that I’m reminded how appreciative I am of my life. Condolences and best wishes Ezra. You remain an inspiration to me.

  4. Ezra, I’m so sorry to hear this. Words don’t seem right at times like these, so all I can offer is my condolences. You and your family will be in my thoughts.

  5. Your friends are right – there are no words that can provide much comfort right now. I’m just glad Big Red is there with you. The two of you are in my thoughts and prayers every day.

  6. Wow. I’m sorry, Ezra. I have some great memories of hanging out in his barn apartment with you, Matt, and a bunch of other people I can’t remember.
    Thinking of you…with love H

  7. Thinking of you Dez, and Zack and Sam. We are all standing by to do whatever we can and if/when you decide on a memorial service I want to be there. Bill had such a big smile and a loud laugh. With love, your cousin Gillian Caldwell.

  8. I remember the feeling of the woodshop. I’ve got two cutting boards in my house. I use them every day. Just this morning to make my daughter lunch. I guess what I remember the most is the loud laugh. Thinking of you and everyone in the family….much love…your cousin Bailey Caldwell.

  9. The news of Billsam was very sad; my thoughts are with you and your brothers. He was quite a character and I enjoyed spending time in his shop during my Putney days; I made a number of chess boards in his shop class and they are still out there somewhere. The last time I saw him was at my Mum’s (your Aunt Ruthie) memorial service in tow with his brothers. His huge laugh and smile will be what I remember too!

    Glad to know the chemo is almost done and the wedding is approaching:-) If you and Hill ever get to Colorado we have lots of room and plenty of bicycles to play with.


    Cousin Kris

  10. My thoughts are with you, Ez. Your strength and resilience are among the most inspirational things I have ever witnessed.

  11. Ezra – I read this yesterday and didn’t know what to say. I still don’t but I wanted to at least offer good thoughts your way and that this has been on my mind.

  12. I don’t remember how old I was when I realized my parents were real people with real problems, but it was heartbreaking.

  13. You have our love, Ezra, and anything else you need when you are in Vermont.

  14. dearest ezra, I just heard about billsam from noah. how sad. don’t know what to say to will. odd to connect with you this way but this is the avenue that appears. please call or visit if you can when you’re here. please know I cherish your being andI send you healing love.

  15. Ezra

    My condolences to you and your family during these dark days. I read this sad news last night and its really been on my mind. Hang in there, remember that better days will eventually come, be good to yourself and take strength from those closest to you. You are in my thoughts. Allez!


  16. Ezra,

    We don’t know each other but I have been following your blog since a friend linked to your assless bike months ago. I am so sorry for your loss. Even if he wasn’t much of a dad, death still changes everything. Embrace it. You are amazing; I wish I did know you personally. I think everyone could use someone strong and honest in their life.

  17. Hi Ezra,
    I’ve been following this journal for quite some time now but never made a comment…just because I guess.
    There’s nothing we all can say except “My condolences”, but that doesn’t realy ease the pain.

    I must say that you’re strong, you’re an inspiration (and I adore Allison’s comment)

  18. Hi Ezra,

    Its been such a long time since I’ve commented, I am almost ashamed of myself and my excuses. Please accept my apologies and know that you have, every day, remained in my family’s prayers. I am so very sorry for your loss. We will offer an extra prayer tonight.

    -j, r, s & z

  19. wow. i’m so sorry. i started reading your blog because of your beautiful pictures, and wanted to read about your battle with cancer. i am interested in your story both because my boyfriend is a cancer doctor and my dad died of cancer (of the colon – he caught it way too late). and now another issue that touches me deeply… since my boyfriend’s fiancee committed suicide four or so years ago now. i didn’t even know her, and yet it has been something i have struggled a lot with, trying to understand… so i can’t imagine how you must be feeling about your father. trying to understand how it could EVER be that bad. in this girl’s case, she was beautiful, engaged to a handsome young doctor, had a trip to fiji booked, and had a new puppy. i don’t think it’s easy to understand the depths of depression that cause such actions.

    i am so sorry you have to be dealing with such a heart-breaking thing at a time in your life when other things are getting so bright & lovely. i’m sorry for your dad’s suffering. my thoughts are with him and with you!!!

  20. Jeezus, Ezra. Seems there are years when we are tested and pushed in ways never imaginable, that should never have to be combined. I can’t begin to imagine the web of emotion you are in right now, but from reading your blog, you have done a damn good job of making sense of the madness of cancer, so I have faith you will do the same with this. but in the meantime, my thoughts are with you from across the country. I hope you and your family have some time to just be together and apart as need-be in the next little while.

  21. I read the blog this morning and reading give me a fright… I’m so sorry…
    Hold tight, You have our love, Riz and Chiara (your italian fans).

  22. Ezra, I don’t know you but have been reading through your posts since I revisited your site wondering about Fast Boy. I am stunned at the beauty of your lucidity and grace through your tribulations. It seems very right that you are sharing this. I see very many sick people and cancer patients in my work, and sometimes wish they could have what you seem to have. You are a rock (in the best way). I hope you continue to find things to give you strength, hope and purpose, and I send my deepest condolences and a wave of good vibes from the west coast.

  23. ezra –

    i just clicked through the site and read this. you take care.
    my thoughts and best feelings are with you and your family.


  24. Dearest Ezra, I’m one of those super-sensitive people who feels other people’s troubles to the bone, so I am sitting here in tears. I am so sorry for your loss. I come from a long line of twelve-steppers and depressives, so I am well familiar with the sense of not being able to help someone unless they help themselves, and how painful it can be to witness their pain. Ezra and Hillary, you are obviously resiliant people with a boundless capacity for adversity, but please, take measures to look after yourselves emotionally right now. My wish for you is that you will understand how much is too much to handle, and that it’s okay to ask for help. Okay – lecture OVER!

    p.s. My best friend recently lost her sister (supposedly to anorexia, though no one will admit it), just days before she was to be married. They postponed the ceremony and will be walking down the aisle on June 13 – the same day as your own party, so I’ll be thinking of you for sure. Cheers to you.

  25. Ez, I’m so sorry to hear. I also lost my father too young (of a heart attack) a couple of years ago. We had grown apart since I moved out of the house and after about 15 years of maybe speaking once or twice a year we finally started to reconnect one Christmas. He died the beginning of the next February. Even though we had shut each other out of much of my adult life because of some slight that happened as a teenager, it still hurts to loose him and I miss him now 2 years later more than I would have possibly imagined.

    I still have a difficult time articulating my feelings, but I find now that’s its hard to recall even what led to us not speaking to each other, I don’t remember the years of animosity, and find that now I really only think about the times we did spend together, most of those in his shop. Those couple of months before he died I wouldn’t trade now for the world. Your relationship was probably vastly different, but in maybe a somewhat similar way I sincerely hope that you’ll come to feel the same as I do and that you’ll remember him for the times he was a dad and anything else simply fades away.


  26. Ezra,
    Thank you for sharing this with us, hard as it must be. I have been following your progress and ironically now my dear wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer. About to begin her second round of chemotherapy her hair has begun to fall out. She is facing all of this with much grace and strength. Your openness has given me some measure of solace in the face of what we’re now in the midst of. Perhaps the words of all of these voices here can also give you some. Peace.

  27. So sorry for your loss. It’s a terrible disease and is one of the most deceptive. Those of us close to the afflicted can only barely empathize and understand, and the closer we come to understanding doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.

    All the best to you and your family.

  28. hello ezra, i’m a friend of bernd (flickr) from vienna. i love to look through your shots and his on flickr. a read a bit of your story and the chemo. a moment ago I thought I would like to find a nice bicycle and I know that you do beautiful ones. just by accident clicked on the blog link and read what you posted a week ago. i had a moment of breathlessness and then I thought: this guy must be so strong to share this with others so quickly. there’s good energy coming from you although I don’t know you in person. good luck on your wonderful path. sascha (still I’m interested in a bike of yours)

  29. Wow, I don’t know what to say, so I won’t say much. That was a wonderfully written entry. I’m sorry that it was the way you had to part. I know the pain of that type of loss, though not yours specifically, and compiled with the other things you’ve been battling. . .well, you just have to be one of the toughest, and most realistic people ever. Look forward to the wedding and your life with Hill. There’s so much beauty ahead. 🙂

  30. i am sorry about your loss

    i appreciate you sharing this with us as death is something that will touch us all, but it is good to know that death does not have to be shared alone.

  31. Ezra,
    I am so sorry.
    When we were chatting at Mod Squad about cancer back in November, you mentioned that you were built to handle pain. You’ve been dealt so much lately… I am sorry.

  32. You don’t know me but I’ve been following your Flickr page and blog for a while now, ever since I came across it while searching for photos of Putney VT, where I went to school years ago. Instead of the town I came across photos of your dog.

    Conicendlty I also live near you as I would walk by this brownstone with all these bikes hanging from the walls. I realized it was yours when I saw photo’s on you site.

    Anyway, lost my dad two years ago. Felt like I should send my condolences.

    BEst, B

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.