2 weeks ago he stood on the 8th floor balcony of a Hotel on the Gold Coast and jumped to his death.
Not Damien Rice (the guy in my sketch). I am talking about a guy who once worked for me.
The guy who had a peaceful and calm nature and was well liked by customers and staff.
The guy who would go missing for days on end.
The guy who had issues with depression and substance abuse.
The guy whose brother and parents would often phone work looking for him.
The guy I had no choice but to fire. That was almost 2 years ago.
I have fired many staff deservedly and without regret, but this guy was a younger me and not so far from where I could have been had I slid through different doors. I will never forget the tears we both shed on his final day at work. I wish I could have fired his demons instead.
I feared he would take this final step within weeks of losing his job. But was surprised when he wrote to me some month later to explain he was getting help, attending a rehabilitation clinic, and to also thank me for forcing him to face his problems.
So my conscience should be clear … right? It’s not.
So why Damien Rice? Out of respect, I did not want to sketch the guy I am talking about. But like Damien Rice, this guy was also a musician who sang with deep feeling. He was the front man for an indie band he had formed with his brother. They had released an album at the end of 2010, played venues and received good radio reviews.
The words of one reviewer at the end of 2010 still haunt me. He observed that the bitter sweet vocals of the front man lassoed listeners into a sense that “everything is not quite right”.
… everything was not quite right.
Desole, if someone is prayin’ then I might break out,
Desole, even if I scream I can’t scream that loud
(Grey Room ~ Damien Rice)