Even though I just posted this weekend, my heart really hurts right now and I want to write about it...
For the third time this year, I have been impacted by suicide. In February, my best friend's husband died by suicide. He was only 32. In July, another friend's sister died by suicide. She was only 26. And now, today, a player from my favorite NFL team, the Denver Broncos, died by suicide. He was only 23. Even though these last two weren't people I knew personally, the tragedy of their deaths still affect me greatly. And dealing with the death of my best friend's husband was… one of the hardest things I have ever had to come to terms with--and I'm still working on it. I was the maid of honor in their wedding. He was not just my best friend's husband, he was my friend, too. And they hadn't even celebrated their second wedding anniversary yet.
In this instance, the third time is not a charm. I have the hardest time understanding the choice… Every time I hear about a suicide, it forces me to stop and remember. And think. Suicide affects so many young people every year. What is going on in their lives that is so incredibly painful, that they feel the need to deal with the pain by ending it completely? What do they need help with? As friends, family members, coworkers, classmates, professors, teachers, school administrators, community leaders… are we keeping an eye out for kids, people who may be struggling and afraid to verbalize their need for help? Are we doing everything we can to reach out and help them? Are we making ourselves available and making sure we convey an open mind? Do we know the specifics of what to do if someone says he or she is contemplating suicide? Are we as prepared as we need to be in dealing with situations like this, situations that may arise in our lives and with people we love and care about?
Suicide is never, EVER the answer. Being depressed and in pain is one thing, but making the choice to end everything and all possibilities for making things better--that is something completely different. It doesn't have to be that way. Suicide is NEVER, EVER the answer. It breaks my heart to know that people get to the point where they feel that it is an answer, the only answer. And as a friend, a family member, a classmate, and a future teacher, I feel strongly that I have a responsibility to help those around me who either directly reach out to me for help or who I notice could use some help even if they don't specifically ask me. As I say in the poem I wrote here, "Love is great, and life is potential. There is hope. There is always hope."