This summer while waiting for a friend I sat in a sunny living room and talked with a young man and his mother. The young man was a little more interested in my conversation than his mother seemed. He was watching a documentary I’d seen not two weeks before and had really enjoyed. He and I had a brief but interesting discussion and I thought how pleasant it was to talk with someone who had such a spark and such an intelligent mind.
Today that young man committed suicide in that same home I sat in a few months ago.
I know the family. They are friends. If I sit here and feel stunned and think maybe there could have been something, some clue, something I could have done, I can only imagine what his close friends and family must feel. As a mother it is painful to consider the implications of today.
We are all, each of us, such crystal-clear and breathtakingly beautiful phenomenon. The idea that someone can suffer so much as to end such a living breathing unique manifestation is quite sobering to comprehend.
Today, the 27th, is the monthly date anniversary for sobriety. I had forgotten until I saw the date in a book. My friend gave me a little gift. Afterwards I took my children to the Y to go swimming and, while they cavorted, attended a Board meeting for the local Buddhist group where I was indoctrinated into service. I picked up lunch for the children and met another friend back at the Y and we ate and talked and enjoyed each other’s company.
Today is a day for holding tight that which we value.
I am so sorry for your loss. I agree as a mother whenever I hear of young person committing suicide it hurts deeply. Moments like this words feel so wrong, yet I couldn’t read and not say something.
I know what you mean about “words feel so wrong”. I think many have this predicament. Today I talked to a woman close to the family who was unsure if she should text or write or call. I could only speak from my experience and say that when loved ones close to me have died (a grandmother, a father, a miscarriage, friends), it hurt when people stayed away, even when I knew their intentions were good. A surprising number of people do stay away. Saying “I’m sad to hear of your loss” is usually entirely adequate and authentic. I think shying away from death, including the discussions of it, keeps us very fearful.
I agree with you about the painful sting, as a mother, to read or hear about these things. Thank you for commenting.
A few years ago there was a spate of young adult and teen suicides in our community impacting some people I knew and I did some research. I was very surprised to see that suicide is the leading cause of death of young people 16-25. Girls attempt it more; boys are more “successful” when they attempt it. If this was cancer or heart attacks, we’d be talking more about it. And when I know the kids and families personally, they did not seem disconnected from people; they had churches and parents who cared, and activities, and were smart people. It is hard to understand why someone would choose this and cause so much pain for others. I wish we knew more about how to nurture and prevent this pain and help young people in their struggles.
I was talking with a friend today about our young sons and our hopes for them; the conversation turned to all one is expected to cope with as a teenager, often with little in the way of experience or skills. Things seem so important, adults tell them that choices and events will make or break them, they are afraid of consequences if they ask for help. I don’t know why some kids go one way and some go another – I was given the gift of always feeling there would be a light up ahead but I know some don’t have that. I’m terribly sorry for your loss, and for his family’s.
@Mary B @Carrie
Thank you for your comments, your shared experiences, and your support.