Saturday, July 20, 2013

Jason Batzer-Rest In Peace

I sit here, this evening, unable to sleep, even though tired. My dear wife has begun her slumber, but I suspect that it will be many hours before I can do the same.
I sit here, and my mind fills up with incredibly mixed emotions at the news of the suicide of a man that I knew.
During the entire time that I knew him, Jason Batzer was always a hand full. His fiery, manic energy could overwhelm even the most patient of his friends.
When he was up, he would come across like a living, breathing encyclopedia. Any topic that was brought up, Jason would know, deeply, and have a strong opinion about it. He could, and would, talk for hours.
Jason knew about  a hell of a lot of things in this world.
Except, perhaps, optimism.
Except, perhaps, love, at least love of self.
Conversations with him would take a bleak turn, and, going forward from that turn, would spiral downward, until an edged point, iron hard and sharp, would shut them off. "Ah, Jason, I'm sorry, I have to go now", uttered from a place of vulnerability, a place of self-preservation, lest the bleakness seep too far into my own psyche, would be my last resort, my last utterance until the next time we spoke, when I'd try again to help, to shed a bit of light into his darkness. If my efforts had any sort of success, Jason never let on.
What must it be like, to feel that the world, in its entirety, is terrible? To feel that there is absolutely nothing left worth living for? These feelings are common to younger people, and they are usually shed, along with other, less helpful views, as youth fades.
I ask, though, for a man in middle age, a man whose prospects have dwindled, a man so terribly, willfully isolated, in a city that's getting tougher and more hardened by the day. What must have that been like? Just as with our increasingly less frequent conversations, I "hang up" on that question. I just can't go to that place.
Jason, I am so sad that you stayed for so long in that place. For God's sake, what could your friends have done, to help pull you away from it? 
Should I now feel hopeless at your passing, or relieved that your suffering, both self-inflicted and at the hands of a world that could never understand you, is over?
Jason, I dearly hope that your spirit is now at peace, and far, far away from that terrible place. I dearly hope that your last moments had at least some joy, that you were able to see this world and your life with some kind of love.
Jason, I will miss you. Jason, please rest in peace. Please, Jason, do that for your friends, all of whom I know that you loved.

8 comments:

jason gusmann said...

thank you, mark

Fierce Nauga said...

Well said! I know - I tried to bring him some light and hope as well but it didn't stick ...

Mark Pino said...

He will be missed, more than he knew, I think.

David Baeumler said...

Thanks for putting into words how so many of us feel about Jason. A complicated, infuriating and wonderful guy. Agree that he didn't realize how many people cared about him deeply.

Dan Maguire said...

I am deeply saddened to learn of Jason’s death. I was not a close friend of Jason’s, and I knew him ‎only briefly in the 1980’s, yet I do remember him – his intelligence and mostly his innate decency – and ‎wish I’d gotten to know him better. ‎

Jason and I were classmates for a time at SUNY-Buffalo. I had one class with him in the fall of 1986 ‎and another in the fall of 1987. Immediately I could tell that he was a brilliant young man, adding to ‎class conversations in ways that no other student could. He was really nice to me – I remember that ‎even more. SUNY-Buffalo was a cold, lonely, and quite frankly toxic place at the time. It was a cold, ‎desolate campus, and most things about it were soul-destroying. Though I don’t know for sure, I ‎sensed that Jason felt it too. We would sometimes chat before or after class, and as I wrote above, ‎even more than his intelligence I felt his decency. He was off-beat, but not in an arrogant way. He was ‎a fellow traveler on the road of Those Who Get Kicked. I don’t know why I didn’t make it a point to ‎be closer friend of his. It’s common to keep strangers at arm’s length, in part for safety concerns, but in ‎a tough world one needs friends. I wish I’d invited him out for a drink and talked to him more. ‎

It appears he eventually left SUNY-Buffalo (good for you!) and went to Bard. It’s also quite clear that ‎others recognized his intelligence and decency. ‎

Those were hard days, and I don’t like to go back there in my mind. Yet those days link the now with ‎a past I can hardly tell is even my own. Jason was part of it, though a small part. Over the years I’ve ‎thought about Jason from time to time and wondered what became of him. Just today February 25 ‎‎2014 I think of him at the computer and type his name into Yahoo search, and am alarmed to see ‎‎“suicide” fill in automatically after “Jason Batzer.” I sensed it was him even though I hoped it wasn’t. ‎

Hey Jason, sorry for having been too shy and chickencrap to talk more, even though I wanted to. You ‎were one of the few decent people in that cold, hyper-competitive place. I wish things had gone better ‎for you, and I pray you found some peace. In the words of my favorite philosopher Van Morrison, ‎‎“It’s a hard road, daddy-o.” Thanks for having been kind and decent to me when few others were. I ‎join your closer friends in missing you and wishing you peace. ‎

Mark Pino said...

Dan-you are so right. This tough world just beat him until he couldn't take it anymore.
I'm so glad that you got to know him, even a little bit. I'm sure that Jason remembered you: he remembered everything and everyone!
I, along with many others, remain shaken by his passing. It's been tough, dealing with it.
Jason is missed, for sure.

Andrew Miller said...

Thank you very much for this information. You described Jason perfectly even when I knew him back in the 70's & early 80's. He was one of a kind. I lived 2 doors down from him and we did a ton of things together growing up.

Mark Pino said...

Andrew-I wish that Jason would have known the extent of people that have been effected by his final act. I miss him a lot, very often. So glad to see your fond memories of him here.