DOTHAN—There’s a festival on North Saint Andrews Street. Hordes of people. Families. Face painting. Popcorn. Fried catfish. Beer. Bluegrass. Laughter. Kids everywhere.
The Blayne Hardy Barfield Foundation is throwing a Family Fun Day.
The foundation is named after Blayne Barfield, a young woman who committed suicide four years ago. I ask Blayne’s husband why he started this foundation.
“For my little girl,” he answers. “To break the silence, man. I want people to know that they can talk about it. ”
I meet a few who do.
One lady is watching the band, eating coleslaw and hushpuppies. She has cropped silver hair and a bright sundress.
“My son took his own life,” she says. “He was twenty-eight, wanted to be an actor, or anything involved with movies.”
She shows pictures on a cellphone.
A few moments later, I am standing in line for the restrooms. I meet a girl. She is wearing a T-shirt with the word “cowgirl” on the front. She is early
She says, “Yeah, I was the one who found my mother after she… Well... It was bad. I was sixteen, and I’m just now starting to talk about it, my therapist says I should.”
She speaks to me like I am a friend. Because I am a friend.
In fact, I am just like her.
I was twelve. When my father took his life, I was watching TV in another county.
At the exact moment the shotgun blast blew a hole through my uncle’s roof, I was watching the commissioner of Major League Baseball announce that the World Series would be cancelled that year.
The universe has a strange irony to it.
That night, the minister helped my mother break the news to me. He sat beside the fireplace and seemed nervous. I didn’t know what he was about to say.…