Why is a question everyone who has read Whit's words has asked, whether you've been here since the beginning or just recently found the blog. He didn't leave anything that would shed light, but we can make certain inferences from the blog and what we know of him. I believe the two overwhelmingly powerful factors were the prospect of having as many as 6 or 8 more years added to his sentence and what that meant to his own psyche, and the guilt over thereby letting his family and others down, putting us in the position of having to deal with that. It's more complicated than that, but this is how I see it in broad terms.
Just yesterday I got a letter from a good friend here in Cincinnati who had met Whit only once or twice between his time at Dayton Correctional Institution and Terre Haute, but knows me and and Whit's course very well. She gives weight to the first of the two factors, and in a way that I have thought about but hadn't yet put down on paper so clearly and insightfully. I offer it here to perhaps help some of you who knew him only through the blog understand what happened, and I welcome your comments. I'll reproduce the entire letter here:
This is what I imagine…. Whit was ready to move on. He’d reached a point in his young adulthood where he totally understood it was time for him to grow, to no longer make the same choices and spin the same wheels.
We all reached that at some point in our 20’s, didn’t we? The difference being that Whit was in a system that would not allow him to grow, to change, to move on to another level of maturity and understanding. Whit wanted “to be whole” but there was nothing “whole” in the entire prison system to assist him. The guards weren’t “whole,” the prisoners weren’t “whole,” the system is fractured. And he knew this …. He was ready to grow and evolve. He knew it in every cell of his being. To wait another 8 or 10 years, this was incomprehensible to a 25-year old who was on the cusp, and knew it, but shackled in ways no other 25-year old is.
I’m sorry I haven’t stayed in touch Jeff. I pray you are doing okay.
I will add that these days when I feel self-pity, or stress over job or mortgage etc…. I remind myself that these were the mundane problems in life that Whit prayed for, everyday. These daily stressors of “normal life” were all he wanted in life – just a chance.
I love you Jeff and think of you and Whit frequently,
… and remember, Whit is no longer suffering. He is free and whole!