Chris Dubose

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These events occurred in the year 2000.
(from my memorial web site for Chris --

Chris had been unhappy for a very long time. His suicide was not, I believe, an impulsive act, but something he had thought about for a long time. However, it was his involvement with a woman he developed strong feelings for in the last few months of his life that triggered this final act.

This was a girl that Chris knew through the newsgroup that he frequented, though for a long time she was just a casual friend. I'll call her Sarah (not her real name). She lived on the East Coast, and in about September she started talking about her upcoming graduation from college, and somehow (I'm not sure if this was his idea or hers) she got the idea of possibly moving to San Diego and working at the company Chris worked at. Chris actually took steps through his company to facilitate this -- giving them her resume and offering his recommendation.


This was the point where I started hearing about her. Chris used to visit me every two weeks in the last few months, and we would watch episodes of the TV shows Xena and Hercules that he had taped. In September he started talking about Sarah almost constantly. He told me how excited he was that she might be coming to San Diego so he could actually meet her. I was a little worried, and cautioned him not to get too attached to her before he knew how she felt. He assured me that he would not, but I was worried -- I could tell how much he really cared.

All seemed to be going well, though, so I was not too worried at that point. She was friendly to him, and gave him her phone number. I had my fingers crossed, because he had gotten hung up on girls before, and it had turned out they hadn't shared his feelings. I urged him to make sure he knew how SHE felt before letting his feelings develop to a critical point.


It was during this month that Chris's insecurities and fears about this relationship started showing up here and there in his emails to her. Sarah seemed to enjoy her email and newsgroup contacts with Chris and corresponded with him frequently. But his fear of abandonment, such a powerful force within him, made him begin to worry.

In the beginning of the month, Sarah confided some troubles she was having, and Chris was very supportive and friendly. She wrote: "I am sorry that I could not talk much earlier. I had company, and the phone seems quiet for some reason. Anyway, I hope you are okay. And I very much hope that you don't crash, and that you do know that I care about you and want to be your friend."

But she also wrote, a couple of days later: "Chris, don't like me more than you should. There is no logical reason for you to like me like that. It doesn't make sense at all."

Chris took this very well, but a few days later, he wrote:

"Please tell me what's going on. you really seem to be trying to avoid me, yet you don't tell me you don't want me around. and as far as i know i haven't done anything horribly wrong in the past few days, have I? is there anything you need to know from me? is there anything you need to tell me? don't worry, I can take it, if that's what you're worried about. I'm amazed at how I've been able to accept my situation. I feel reasonably confident I could handle any situation without falling apart."

At this point, he was reasonably in control, but concerned. They continued to correspond, agreeably discussing such things as books and everyday happenings. Then, on Halloween night his loneliness seemed to overcome him and spilled over in an email to Sarah:

"I am completely alone and completely lonely... all the time, every minute of every day of every year, and there's nothing I can do about it, probably not ever. nobody wants to associate with a lonely person even once. kind of makes it hard to overcome the loneliness. I can't even bear it right now. but there are so many other people who are lonely, and they must be tended to first. this world really sucks. I can hardly live another day. ...

please help me. please say something. you never say much to me any more. I'm so sorry for being a burden. my hope in life is almost completely gone. I know you lie. you've admitted it yourself twice that you regularly lie. and I'm almost certain you've said things to comfort me, but weren't really the truth. I wish you would tell the truth no matter how much you think it would hurt me. I would feel better. it's too scary thinking that what your hiding is so horrible that you have to lie to me. of course, I don't know for sure that you have lied to me in that way, but if you have let me know."

He just could not believe, in his heart, that anyone who acted as if she liked him could possibly be telling the truth. Sarah responded to this in general terms, with a description of how lonely she felt, and then added, without elaboration, the single sentence:

"I don't know what you think I am lying to you about."

She was kind of like that -- she always responded more with logic than emotion to Chris's neediness.

In an attempt, perhaps, to get more emotional input Chris apparently called her at a bad time, and in her next email she said: "I was upset when you called last night because I specifically told you that I was going to bed. I really don't have the time to take care of anyone else being sad besides me right now. It is effort enough to keep myself from being sad or worried about school."


The 7th

Meanwhile, Chris had received via email some pictures of Sarah and, by mail, a copy of her senior thesis at college, and both were very impressive to him. He was now head-over-heels in love with her, and he could not contain his feelings. He wrote this on election day, November 7:

"you're a million times more important than any political outcome. I don't care who wins. I just wish I was with you. just in your presence. don't even care what we do or don't do. just being with you, and feeling like you cared about me or didn't mind being with me, would make all the difference in the world. I just wanted to say that. {{{{{{Sarah}}}}}}"

Characteristically, she responded in a neutral, conversational vein to this outpouring of feeling:

"Dear Chris,
I hope that the outcome of today will not effect you too much emotionally. You can't really know what a political party will do until they are in power. I saw a cute sticker on campus today. Dick + Bush = We're Screwed.

(I must add that Chris had very strong feelings about politics, and was very antithetical to the idea of George Bush and the Republicans coming into power. He had at one time said he would kill himself if Bush got elected! However, it's my belief that the tension generated by the uncertainty of the election had a stronger effect on his emotional state than did the outcome -- which we didn't even know about until after his death, of course.) On election day Chris and I stayed up almost all night watching the election returns on TV and on, and corresponding with each other over ICQ about the amazing reversals of fortune. He seemed interested and excited. I had no idea of the dark thoughts he was having at that time -- I did not even know then that he had threatened suicide if Bush won.

I guess Chris was not totally involved in watching election returns, however, because he posted this to late that night:

"this song has the wonderful lyrics of any ELO song. it doesn't stop bringing me to tears even after repeated listenings. this is a perfect goodbye song.
ELO - Ticket to the Moon
"remember the good old 1980s
when things were so uncomplicated
I wish I could go back there again
and everything could be the same

I've got a ticket to the moon
I'll be leaving here
any day soon
I've got a ticket to the moon
but I'd rather see the sunrise your eyes.

got a ticket to the moon
I'll be rising high
above the earth so soon

and the tears I cry might
turn into the rain
that gently falls upon your window'll never know.

ticket to the moon... (repeat)
fly, fly through a troubled sky
up to a new world
shining bright oh-oh!

flying high above
soaring madly through the mysteries that come
wondering sadly if the ways that led me here
could turn around and I would see you there
standing there (and I would see you there, waiting...)

ticket... to the moon!
flight leaves here today
from satellite Two!
as the minutes go by
what should I do?

I paid the fare, what more can I say!
it's JUST ONE WAY (only one way)...
ticket to the moon.... (repeat chorus)

(After he died, I found a printout of these lyrics on the seat of his car.)

The 8th

On this day, Chris called Sarah and his phone records show he had a fairly long conversation, 21 minutes, with her. (It was the last conversation he had with her by phone, apparently. His records show 19 more calls to her in the next few days of one minute each -- most likely, just receiving her answering machine, or a brief rejection. It seems she had decided not to talk to him by phone any more.)

In an email to another friend the next day (I'll call her Delia), Chris described his conversation with Sarah:

"I talked to Sarah on the phone last night (Wednesday night). we talked a little, mostly about her school classes and her senior thesis project. she also mentioned she had a father who did research much like Sarah's doing now. she said her father died when she was a child. she said if I do a search for [her last name] on Yahoo, I'll find some of her father's dissertations and stuff."

So Chris did an internet search on Sarah's last name, and that night sent her this email, with the subject "I see how worthless I am":

"I look at the pages of all your guy friends who mention you on their websites (and therefore appear on the Yahoo search of [your last name]) and I realize I am nothing compared to them. They are ten times cooler than I could ever even imagine being myself. And that you yourself are in an elite crowd which I could never hope to even touch, not even hardly see it from a distance. This depresses me beyond what I can bear."

Sarah's deification was now almost complete. She was a goddess on her throne in his eyes at this point, and his emotional state was very very low. Chris then sent Sarah a series of emails in which he expressed his absolute and total conviction that she was going to abandon him after she graduated and would take pains to make sure he would never be able to get in touch with her again. (These fears just seemed to be a product of his depressed state and his discovery of her "cool" friends on the internet rather than anything she had said or done.) She replied:

"I will do as I will. I have no clue what that is. maybe I will not be depressed when I move? maybe I will not have an internet connection because I feel like I am addicted? I don't know right now. I just don't know."

The 9th

Chris took this as a confirmation of his worst fears. He emailed the following to Delia on the morning of the 9th: "it's obvious from her last email she plan to abandon me. I cannot live with that. I just can't. there is not even close to a way I can live with that. please respond, and let me know what you think of the whole thing. this is the ultimate crisis in my entire lifetime. and almost certainly the last. :("

Chris also emailed Sarah with his fears, and she responded: "Why is it so important to be my friend? I don't understand. You seem obsessed rather than in search of friendship."

Later, Sarah posted on that she had received a job offer. Chris emailed her asking, in what seemed to be genuine good feeling, who she had gotten the offer from and where they were. She replied: "Chris, I don't like you taking so much interest in my life. it is freaking me out. stop"

The 10th

It was becoming clear that Sarah was truly recoiling from Chris's interest in her, that it wasn't just his imagination any more, and his state became worse than ever. On the 10th he commenced a series of desperate emails to her in which an almost violent self-condemnation was the dominant theme.

The first, which is very long, I've decided to include almost in its entirety because it so clearly expresses Chris's deepest wishes and fears for his life. (The parts I've left out were those that related to some of the personal details of Sarah's life.)

"I need to tell you that I'm not going to make it. death for me is the best choice for both our sakes. I don't need to apologize for that because I am doing the right thing. if I decided to continue to live, that I would have to apologize for. and it would be the most horribly selfish thing to do, given my circumstances and my now permanent state of despair and hopelessness. and in fact I do apologize for living to this point and making it harder than it could have been.
I should have died long ago.
you and I are a lot alike in many ways. the main difference is that you are a successful version of me. you are physically and mentally good enough to accomplish what I could only dream. you have the confidence to take on all kinds of responsibilities and the confidence that you have a good chance of achieving whatever you set out to do, whether academically, socially, relationship-wise, physically, anything, and you have the confidence to go out and do it. I imagine life would be unbearable torture for you if you were as physically and mentally unendowed as I am. I know your life is torture as it is, but you can at least live through it.
> [omission of personal details]
I also wanted to make a positive difference in your life too. nobody I like ever seems to want me to make a positive difference in their life. I wanted to love and give at least as much as I received. but people don't want me to do that for them, because it creates an obligation in their minds to return it to me, which they don't want to do because they are not interested in me, which is because I have no world of my own, or rather my world is empty and desolate. but I have no hope of making a positive difference in your life now either, in addition to having no hope of exploring your world. maybe I could create something of a world for myself if I were lifted up by someone else's world. but that is by far insufficient.

it's only hope alone that kept me alive at all the last few years. all trace of it is gone and I know it can never come back. I realize I don't love you, so it is no loss for you. I am incapable of loving you, or anybody else. I am not strong enough to love. if I were, I would be able to live *and* get over you and not suffer so that you wouldn't suffer, because I know you don't want me to suffer as badly as I am. but getting over you is not close to possible, and I've known I had no hope of getting over you for at least a month and a half. except for maybe one possible way. my only hope of getting over you was to establish some good memories with you, enough for you to live on. but even then I'm not sure that would enable me to get over you, though I'd come a lot closer to being able to. but I know that cannot happen now.
[omission of personal details]
it is not your fault at all. you already went overboard to care about me. you've gone above and beyond the call of duty to try to support me. but my pain is just too unbearable, and has been, for months, even years. and now with all hope gone, the pain is there every minute of every day, constantly, and I cannot live with that. I have been prepared for this for a while. this is not a spur of the moment thing. I cannot go on knowing every person I will ever like is profoundly hurt by me, and cannot like me.

in the long term, you'll be happier. I am finally putting your life above mine. it may make you sad for a little while that I had to die, but you'd be in greater agony for much longer if I continued to live in my torturous life. death is not wrong, or something to fear or be ashamed of, for someone in my circumstance. it's just moving on to an unknown state of being that we can't imagine. I am curious to explore it. I am still a little scared, but logically I realize death is scarier than it needs to be. and with all hope gone, I might even become a monster if I continued to live. but even if I didn't, my life would be torturous and unbearable, even more than it was just a few days ago. you'll be happier in the long run, knowing that have found peace, and am not suffering any more."

He seemed to be boxing himself in, emotionally. I am of the belief that our thoughts are very important, and we can get ourselves in a very small, tight place by improper thinking ... this seems to me to be what was happening with Chris. By having these thoughts, and not being able to counter them with any doubts whatsoever, he made it harder for anyone else to get through with more positive thoughts.

This day and the morning of the 11th Chris sent 4 more emails in a similar vein to Sarah.

The 11th

On this evening, Sarah posted the following message on
"You are a paranoid person with no respect for other peoples emotions. You have issues that are beyond the scope of simply being solved by the help of supportive friends. You have messed up HUGE and are really bothering me with the emails you are sending me. As of now, you are going into a filter which destroys all your email before I see it. You are also on my ICQ ignore list.
I tried to be nice to you and respond supportively, but that seems to mess you up more and more so I am making this statement in a public forum so you don't feel that this is personal. It is just that I can't deal with you or fix you, and I think you expect me to.
I am also making this statement here so other people know that you are sending me suicide threats and can take action if they feel it is necessary. It is beyond my power to help or call anyone about these feelings you are having because acknowledging them will cause you to further cling onto me and might further all your weirdness."

This was a terrible, terrible blow to Chris. This must have confirmed every fear about himself that he had ever had, had ever hoped against hope was not true.

That night, I have since learned, he went out to the railroad tracks intending to kill himself. He apparently flipped a coin as to which track to lie on. He lay on the wrong one, by chance. Here's his description of it in an email to Delia:
"what happened last night was pretty horrible. what I thought was a certainty, turned out to be a 50-50 Russian roulette, and by chance, I survived. I could have easily died right there, if the coin flip was heads instead of tails, and I was sure it would. it was scary at first, but when it was about 5 seconds away, I grew calm and all thoughts disappeared. I just looked into the bright, beautiful white light. but then about 2 seconds away, I realized I was on the wrong track. and to my shock, I was unscathed. I felt both relief and immense torment combined. it is hard to describe, it is unimaginable. it's hard to even remember. I was in shock, psychological only. physically, I was unscathed. but I knew I couldn't do it again that night. I don't think I can do it again, not knowing whether I'll be "lucky" or not.
I don't like Russian roulette. I like certainty. I don't know what to do now."

From this point on, it seemed Chris was in a shocked state. He stated in one post he felt like a victim of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome -- which most likely he was. (However, he never posted on about what he happened to cause the trauma -- no one on that board knew about what he had done on the night of the 11th. Even Sarah did not know.)

The 13th

From here on Chris seemed to be in a desperate struggle to redeem the "second chance" he had gotten, and to rescue his relationship with Sarah. In a post entitled "How can a 2.5 year friendship be destroyed just like that?" (referring to the length of time he had been acquainted with Sarah) he wrote:

"how can a 2.5 year friendship be destroyed just like that? just at the snap of a finger? only I can make someone cancel a 2.5 year friendship and make them abandon me completely and make them feel completely good about doing it, without missing the friendship in the slightest. nobody ever misses being an acquaintanceship with me in the slightest, ever, no matter how long it lasted. were those 2.5 years really that meaningless? please tell me.
anybody who's ever been an acquaintance to me, including all asders, no matter how long. they never care about the friendship. they never want to keep it. I'm always the one that has to do all the work. and then one day they just decide to up and leave it, without feeling bad at all, without missing the former friendship in the slightest. I'm the only one that ever misses it.
what is so fundamentally wrong with me? "

To which she replied:
"You are SICK! And you push people away. You push and push and make people hate you by having NO respect for ANYONE's personal boundaries. Explicitly, I want you to read the following things you wrote. Don't you think that these things are sexually harassing or invading on my personal space? Don't you think that just randomly asking things about someone's personal life just to collect data to add to your twisted fantasy is wrong? And don't you dare cancel this post. This IS what you wrote. This IS who you are. If you don't like it, change it. But don't blame me. And say hi to my kill file for me. You are getting thrown in it now. You take one unrequited obsession and trade it for another. I tried to be your friend and help you through your crap, and then you just tossed all your problems onto me making me the subject ct of them.

Oh, I removed all names from this so as not to overly involve personal info about you in this. [sic]"

...and she proceeded to post several of the private emails he had sent her on the 10th and 11th, including one in which he had spoken of his sexual desire for her.

Chris tried valiantly to defend himself:

"you think it's a violation of your personal boundaries for me to say what I did there by private email, yet you post this deeply private stuff so the whole world can see it and you don't think THAT's a violation of your boundaries????? (not just mine, but yours too?)
asking what company you got a job offer from is violation of your personal boundaries, at a time when you were just recently before that answering much more personal questions, and always willingly telling me who you were interviewing every week, and telling me much more personal stuff without showing any hint that I was getting too personal???? now I know not to ask you any questions any more, but at the time I wrote that, I had no clue you thought that was "too personal". up until that very point you had not been getting on me for asking too many questions or getting too personal, so I didn't know!
you make it sound like I was just some stranger out of the blue asking you these questions and saying these things, when in fact we were pretty good acquaintances over the internet and were telling each other a good number of things.
what you posted was misleading it makes people think that I just said all that stuff as a stranger, like we had never talked about personal private stuff before and here I come out of the blue saying these things. I would post some stuff to prove that we were decent acquaintances but I don't want to post your private emails because I don't want to violate your privacy like you just violated mine. but we've talked of quite a number of personal things for the last 2.5 years at least. so it wasn't like I didn't know you well enough.
and, btw, I didn't cancel your post, as much as I want to and think it should be cancelled. I think it is outrageous you post my private sexual desires about you and I'm surprised you don't feel violated yourself with other people including strangers reading it. I did not think you would feel harassed by that at all. I thought you would think it was simply normal to have those kinds of feelings. I am very sorry you felt harassed by that. I never meant to harass you at all. why didn't you tell me that privately soon after I wrote it?
all that said, I know I have been acting crazy lately."

Given his emotional state at this time, it seems like an exceedingly gracious and reasoned response. But some of the asders defended Sarah.

This turn of events deepened his despair. Later the same evening he posted the following, under the heading "I thought for the first time I might actually make it":
"today, for the first time in quite a while, a couple of weeks at least, I actually thought there was the slightest chance I might make it through this. but after seeing all the posts here against me, I'm back to knowing I won't make it, no matter how much I try to repent or be a perfectly good person or be reasonable against even the worst unconditional vitriol against me. a lot of people hate me viciously unconditionally for things they don't know even really know about. some people even wish I would die, though I don't blame them. actually, some of those who wish I would die probably actually care about me the most. but some wish I would be put away in a mental facility never to be seen again in the outside world, forcefully drugged for the rest of my life, knowing that would be far worse than death. that is the ultimate hatred.
I was given a second chance at life against my will. it was so cruel of that to happen. and I'm trying to make something of that 2nd chance. "

The 14th

Chris was starting to suffer severe post-trauma symptoms (this is a post to, "another hard night coming"):

"another sleep-interrupted night coming... more tears... more uncontrolled waking up in terror and tears every time the faintest sound of a train whistle blows... more chances of uncontrollable near-vomiting. it's the same every night. I am living without hope, without even hope of hope. I am living completely alone, forever. I will one day die, even more alone, in complete darkness. "

The responses this time were kind and comforting, and Sarah stayed out of it.

The 16th

At 4:30 in the morning (Pacific time) he attempted for the last time to call Sarah, and left a brief message in which he was in tears (according to her later post on asd).

Later in the morning, he must have been thinking about the future, because he sent emails to two of his cousins in Texas (whom he had never met) and one to me, with his Christmas wish list.

That evening, he updated his personal web site by adding two pages of pictures of himself.
But no more emails to anyone.

Only one long post on, basically telling everyone not to care about him any more.

The 17th

Chris's last day was a lonely one. He was home from work, awaiting a call to jury duty.

He replied to one email sent to him early in the morning, giving him some well-meant advice about his difficulties with relationships. Chris rejected it curtly.

Then he spent several hours playing "Word Racer" on Yahoo Games. This lasted until about 2:30 in the afternoon, and for the next several hours he perused various web sites (a look at his Netscape Cache reveals) such as a Xena and Hercules site, the site for his high school, a site describing different personality types, and, finally, a site containing lyrics to ELO and other groups' songs. He apparently printed some of these out. But no more emails, and no posts to newsgroups for most of the day, except for a mysterious one to asking for the name of the web site for the Chase Tournament ("need answer quick" -- but no one replied until the next day).

At 5:50 he called Delia, but it was only a one-minute call, so perhaps she was not there.

I have the honor of having sent the last email to him that he received, at 6:30 that night. I was telling him that he was "Member of the Moment" on a message board that we both belonged to ... with every refresh of a page, a different member's picture is displayed. I did not know it changed with every visit, and I wanted to cheer Chris up (I guess at some level I knew he was down). By looking at his cache I can see he did visit the site, and that he was not "Member of the Moment" any more. He replied to me, somewhat ruefully I thought, saying yeah, he knew that, it changed every time. (Of course, I have had the wild thought that if he HAD still been "Member of the Moment", maybe he would have changed his mind!)

At 6:44, he posted the following, his final message to
"please don't ever think I hate you because of what I have to do for myself. I'm worried you'll think I hate you or something. it's okay to hate me, but please don't think I hate you.
I don't even hate myself. if I really hated myself, I would let myself keep on living in this torture. also, it is not your fault in any way. it is nobody's fault but mine, but I tried my best, so it's not really anybody's fault. it's just the way the world works, and the way human feelings work, and the way it all works just isn't compatible with my life for living.
I also hope you never feel guilty, or hate yourself because I'm doing what I
have to do for myself. life goes on, and you can find happiness, and someone
to share it with. I hope you don't feel too lonely, and find what you're looking for.
to others, if Sarah ever starts thinking that I must have hated her to do what I will have done, please show this to her.
truth seeker"

He appears to be resigned to shutting away all feelings: of anger, of sadness, of love, of despair, of anything; to no chance of understanding or resolving anything .... "It's just the way the world works." It is the most profound and heart-breaking of messages.

At 6:45 P.M. he emailed Delia the lyrics to the LEO song I have printed below. Then he shut down his computer.

He took his car and drove it to a remote area near the railroad tracks. He parked on a side street near the tracks, locked his wallet and keys in the trunk, and then began his last lonely walk down to the tracks, through brush and trees, a fifteen-minute walk at least. Upon arriving, he lay down on the tracks (his neck on the rail as he had once talked about doing on asd) and awaited a train -- and this time he did not fail in his intended mission.

He was run over by a train at 7:35 P.M., and killed instantly.

When they found his body, the lyrics to this ELO song were found in his pocket:

Did you see your friend crying from his eyes today
Did you see him run through the streets and far away
Did you see him run, did you see him fall
Did his life flash by at the bedroom door

Did you hear the news it came across the air today
Someone has been found on the rocks down in the bay
Did you see him hide, did you see him crawl
Does his life mean more than it did before

Did you see that man running through the streets today
Did you catch his face, was it 10538

10538 Overture, Electric Light Orchestra

After having written this, I feel I truly understand what Chris was going through in his last days (as much as anyone can, anyway). This has been very necessary for me, as I was not "there" when all this happened, but living my life at a remove from his. Doing this page has brought me into closer contact with Chris, and though my heart breaks at the thought of his profound unhappiness, at least I have found some peace in being able to put together the emotional string I feel he was following. I feel like I have been "there" for Chris in writing this in a way I was not able to be when it happened. And so I would like to say to him -- Chris, I understand, and I will not judge you, and I will always love you so very much.

When we found his car several days later, parked near the railroad tracks, it tore at my heart to see the book I found lying in the back seat -- a book entitled "Self Esteem".

And another one I found in his apartment that he had recently bought -- "The Art of Loving" by Erich From.

Chris was searching for love, and when he thought he would never find it, that there would never be any chance, he took his life.

I would like to make it clear that I am not blaming the young woman I'm referring to as "Sarah" on this page. Chris was very desperate internally, and any crisis of this nature was likely to set it off. This page is not written to heap blame upon someone involved in something that she did not know how to handle and certainly did not ask for. She says she cared about him, and I believe it is so; I think she was overwhelmed. This page has been written solely to illuminate Chris's heart and soul and make his poignant struggle in his last days more visible to the world

. It is for Chris, who felt he had disappeared from everyone's view. On this page, he has not. Here, he lives.

mom of Chris
2/7/74 -- 11/17/00
Lay in front of train
"Good night sweet prince..."

E-Mail Cynthia