Archive for January, 2012

Tonight I am having a reoccuring sense of loss, and the hardest part about it is that the loss I am feeling I felt before because of the same circumstances with the same family. It was about 18 yrs ago when the pain I am feeling occured the first time. I remember the night so clearly. Troy Dailey and I were out cruising around Crescent City smoking weed. We were parked at the rest stop just off 9th street when Charlie Haynes pulled up in his car. He was alone, had a 12 pack of beer in the passenger seat, and was “chilling out.” Charlie was a great guy and just like his brother Levi, everyone knew him liked him. He was a scrapper when he had to be, but a friend to everyone who met him. We asked him if he wanted to smoke some weed with us, but he declined and said he was good with his beer. Charlie said he wanted to go see if he could find anyone else crusing around, but we made plans to meet at Surfer’s Point later on if anything came up like a party or anything like that. Troy and I kept crusing, ran into a few people, and later went to Surfer’s Point to meet up with Charlie to let him know we had gotten wind of a get together starting up at a friends house. Charlie never showed. We waited for about 20 minutes, decided Charlie must have found something else to do, and decided to leave.

Every sense that night I have gone over and over those events. Was something out of place? Was Charlie acting any differently? Were there signs a non-stoned person might have picked up on? Did I or Troy miss any hidden messages in the conversation we had with Charlie? The answer is always no. Charlie was the same Charlie we had always known. He was in a good mood. We was joking around. His relationship with his girlfriend had just ended, but he was talking about finding some “ass” that night. Seeing a 12 pack with Charlie was not out of the norm, hell at times seeing Charlie without a 12 pack would have seemed weird. What I remember the most about that night was the jokes. Charlie was always in a good mood and could tell some great jokes. He had a smile that just seemed to put everyone in a good mood. There was one thing that was true with Charlie Haynes…If you knew Charlie Haynes, you were friends with Charlie Haynes.

The next day I woke up with a combination hang-over and weed headache. I ate breakfast and just remember the day starting off lazy. Little did I know about the brush fire of news that was spreading through Crescent City. When I finally learned about it I was slammed against the wall. They had found Charlie Haynes that morning in his car. With him was a half drunk 12 pack of beer and a shotgun. He had killed himself.

Suicide is a very odd death. At least with disease or accidents there is some sort of explanation. There is quicker closier. Suicide is vastly different. It leaves so many questions unanswered that it nearly drives the survivors crazy with a combination of wanting to know those answers, anger because the questions will never be answered, and most of all, sorrow because you feel that the questions were never asked by you. What hurt worse about Charlie’s death, atleast for me, was that I had seen him not long before he had killed himself. What hurt was that no matter what I did, there was no way of rewinding that clock 8 hours back to the moment that he drove away so that I could ask, “Bro, you need someone to talk to? You doning alright? You know what, get in the truck with us and lets hang tonight.” He probably would have replied, “Nah bro, nothing to talk about. I’m doing good. It’s cool, I’ll just meet up with you guys later.” The hardest part is not knowing if that would have been his reply, because the questions were never asked.

In my 38 years of life, I have never been to a funeral like the one for Charlie Haynes. There were so many people there, that there were people outside. Friends, family, and more friends. Saddness does not even come close to the emotion of that day. It was true loss that was felt by so many people. The hardest part of all of it was Levi, Charlie’s brother. I was not as close to Levi as other people around me. I had partied with him on many occassions, we had talked, and he was a great guy, but I just knew Charlie a little better. However, after losing my own mother not long before that, I felt a bit closer with Levi. In truth however, I don’t know how Charlie’s death affected Levi. I had heard things and part of me could only imagine how I would feel if I had lost my own brother, but how Levi dealt with it I never really knew. I saw him at parties afterwards and he seemed like the same guy. Looking back on it now, I think a lot of the fact that I never really asked or worried about Levi was because of his friends. Guys like Shawn Ellsworth were there to look out for Levi, be there for him when he needed them, and most of all, protect him if need be. There are certain friendships you admire, and I’m not affraid to admit that I admired the friendship Levi had with those close to him.

You see, looking back on it today I have no idea how I met Charlie or Levi. I’m sure it was through my brother, but it didn’t matter. If you met those guys, you were friends with those guys. They both just had that kind of personality. Personable, always willing to chat it up with anyone, party with the best of them, could drink like noone else, and most of all, if you needed someone to have your back, they were there. There is not a living soul in Crescent City who knew Charlie and Levi who did not like them. Sure you might have liked one a bit more than the other, but you liked them. I remember hearing a story (if it’s true or not I will never know) about Levi. He had shown up to a party at the Tower pretty wasted, had a few more, and passed out in the back of a buddies truck (Kacey Shortis’ if I recall the story correctly). Some Mexican started talking some trash and a fight broke out between some of Levi’s friends and the Mexican’s buddies. When the melee was over, there was Levi, up and awake, with this guy in a head lock kicking the living sh*t out of them. That was just the type of  guy Levi was, it didn’t matter the situation, hell even if he were passed out, if one if of his friends needed a hand in a fight they he was there ready to go.

It has been about 17 yrs since Charlie died. In 1996 I left Crescent City for the Navy and I have not seen Levi since. Tonight however I learned that Levi, for whatever reasons, climbed on top of a building in Eureka and made a running jump to his death. I had heard he had had problems with drugs and alcohol over the years, and according to the newspaper, had some mental issues, but that shit doesn’t matter. I’m nearly 16 years rmoved from Crescent City, but right now the hurt I feel is that of someone who’s body might have left CC, but deep down, his heart is still there. I can not even imagine the pain those who were closer to Levi must be feeling tonight. Part of me believes that if anyone is in CC or anywhere else in this world close to another person who knew Levi, they are sitting in a room or a bar right now having a drink to his memory. A larger part of me wishes I were there with them. I feel a pain right now that angers me. Because the pain I am feeling is for a brother whose death reminds me of the same pain I felt when his brother took his life so many years ago. I am angry because I wish that I was not so far removed.

I do not write this to in any way disparage the memory of these brothers. If anyone reads this and feels that I have done so, let me know, and believe me, this post will come down. I write this because people need to know what has been lost today. Today the light of a caring soul was extinguished and I want to honor his memory. Levi Haynes was one of the greats and he will truly be missed by so many people who’s life he touched. My most heartfelt prayers go out to his family, his friends, and those who knew him. I maybe 16 years removed and 1200 miles away, but saddness over this loss knows no bound. Rest in Peace Levi Haynes, you will be missed. The picture I have used for this post comes from friends of Levi Haynes. I use it only so that his smile will never be forgotten.


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