March 30, 2017

It's not painless

In 2014, someone that I cared about very much committed suicide.  Good friend, all around good guy.  The last time I had talked to him was when I went back East for a visit.  We were attempting to make plans to meet and catch up, but for various reasons, the plans fell through.   I figured it was just bad timing on our parts, and that there'd be another visit out there--or him visiting out here as he had family in the area--and we'd try it again.

I regret that now.

Another friend messaged me with the news.   A family member found him.  There really wasn't any warning, any clues, anything, that he was so depressed that suicide was about to happen.   He also worked in psych--that's where I met him--and you'd kind of figure that those of us in the trenches would know to ask for the help.  I guess not.

What I remember about that day--that whole weekend, actually--was that everything outside seemed so crisp, so still, so quiet.  Almost as though it wasn't real.  It definitely didn't seem real.

That day was also another close friend's birthday--she did not know him.  Normally, she would be the one I would have turned to to process what I was feeling.  But I couldn't burden her with that on her birthday.  She would have listened, she would have understood, she would have been supportive of me...but I would have felt like I was ruining things for her.  "Hey, happy birthday, sorry I'm kind of down, found out a friend killed themselves today.  So what do you have planned for your special day?"  Way too macabre.

I was off work that weekend and didn't have anything to distract me. The better half wasn't around that weekend--I think it was because of his work.   I did have to explain to little one why I was crying but I kept it simple.  I also didn't want to burden a young child's mind with this.  Littler one was an infant, so I talked to him about it.   He probably didn't care as long as he was attached to a boob.  It was the longest three days of my entire life.

The family didn't want flowers but asked for donations to NAMI in his name, so of course I made one.   I couldn't go back East for anything but friends told me about the memorial service, and I got to see a few video clips from it.

A few weeks later, I received a card from the family.  I haven't opened it.  I can't bring myself to open it yet.  It sits in a folder on my dresser.   I will open it one day.  Just not now.

For a long time, I couldn't listen to Def Leppard.  About a year or so...I can now, though some songs still sting a little.  He did have great taste in music.

I never wrote about it here--I just checked the entries for the month of his death and I didn't mention it.  So why am I mentioning it now?

This week, another friend received a phone call from her mother.  Her father killed himself.   He was diagnosed with depression but had been getting treatment...things were up and down but they thought he was doing all right.  So this--like my friend's--was a bolt out of the blue to them.


While I've lost a good friend to suicide, I can't even begin to imagine the pain of losing a family member to it.  A parent, a child, a spouse...any family.  As far as I know, no one in my family has ever committed suicide, though there have been a few who attempted.  Losing my father to health issues was painful enough.  I can't even begin to fathom how it would have felt had he killed himself.

Go here if you feel things are that getting that bad that you're thinking about ending your life.  Or if you're worried about someone who is thinking, talking, attempting it.  Or if you're surviving the loss.  I'll be there for a while today myself.

Yes, I know preventing suicide isn't as easy/simple as clicking on a link.  It takes a lot to ask for help.  Hell, I can't even open that card yet and that's small change compared to someone struggling in crisis. But educating ourselves and others about suicide can help.

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