The only personal experience I've had with suicide was about five years ago. It was a Sunday morning, and we were getting ready for church. The kids were downstairs watching television and I heard a distant sound, like crying. I remember putting my curling iron down, going to the stairs, and listening, thinking it was something on the television. I called down to the kids and asked them what they were watching. It didn't seem to be coming from there. I went back in my room and heard it again. Crying from somewhere. Somewhere outside. Maybe a child, I thought.
But it was time to go. I guess the crying didn't concern me enough to figure out who it was or why. We went to church, came home, and then we heard the news from our friends who live down the street. The neighbor behind us had come home from working nights as a nurse at a hospital, opened the garage, and found her husband, who had hung him self in their garage. The crying I'd heard had been hers, after she discovered his body.
I didn't know them well. They pretty much kept to themselves. He walked their dog past our house all the time, and we had a dog, and my husband had talked to him a few times. It's interesting to me that I, a virtual stranger to them, felt guilty. I felt guilty that I hadn't reached out to him more. Hadn't tried to get to know him. Hadn't done any number of things. As if I could prevent it? It seems so silly now. But isn't that what we do? We ask why, and wonder what we might have done differently, so sad that a life had to end that way.
For weeks, I thought of him. I couldn't walk or drive by their house without visualizing him in there, doing that. And I felt so badly for her. If *I* was haunted by it, what about her? Having to live with that image for the rest of your life? But even worse, wondering what role she played in his decision.
Other books about teen suicide I highly recommend: 13 REASONS WHY by Jay Asher and HOLD STILL by Nina LaCour.
The mother in me won't sign off of this post without posting a help line, in case you stumble across this post with thoughts of suicide. Please, talk to someone. Your life DOES matter. The national suicide prevention line is 1-800-273-8255.
Another place to go for help, if you are a lesbian, gay, trans, bi, or questioning young person, is the Trevor Project. They have a nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention lifeline - 1-866-4-U-TREVOR.
Has suicide ever touched your life? Feel free to share in the comments.