Reflecting on National Suicide Prevention Week
National Suicide Prevention Day was one week ago today. Suicide Prevention Week was the seven days leading up to September 10. This subject has a particular place in my heart because of my loss of a great friend years ago. I remember the moment I found out I lost my friend Rich like it was happening in real-time.
The sting of the news isn’t quite as sharp as it was a few years ago, but it still brings me to tears at times. There are still moments when I think about Rich or something reminds me about Rich and I’m beside myself with sadness. The loss of a truly great friend by his own hands is incomprehensible. It is an event that requires deep reflection and ultimately acceptance of what is so.
Two and a half years ago, I wrote a blog about pain. When I look back on the conclusions I came to at that time, I’m left with modifying what leads to my conclusion: The choice we make is whether we want to continue to pass along pain or not.
Pain ultimately stems from love. The love of someone/thing that has profound significance to you. Emotional and Physical pain are similar in many ways. Get hit by a bus, and you’re going to feel a lot more pain than a paper cut. Lose a close friend to suicide, and you’re going to feel a lot more pain getting dumped by a woman you barely knew even after one-and-a-half years of dating.
Not to diminish the pain felt in one moment over another. When you’re in the thick of it, the pain is much more real than when you reflect on it years later. That mostly holds true for losing someone to suicide, but there are still moments when the pain of Rich’s loss is just as real today as it was two-and-a-half years ago. I’ll always miss him and wish that we could have grown to be two crazy old folks together.
People always talk about soul mates in a romantic sense, but I honestly believe that soul mates have nothing to do with romance. Rich was a soul mate. I knew it the moment I met him and picked on him for his hairdo in Junior High. I loved him like a brother. I still love him to this day. And it still stings to have lost him. Suicide is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. I hope that I never feel it with another person close to me.
If you know anyone who is truly depressed enough to take his/her own life, make sure they know how important they are to you. It’s amazing how much it can help make a difference. Just remember that sometimes, in spite of your efforts, they may still kill themselves. It isn’t a reflection upon you or your friendship. It is a personal choice that they have made, and unfortunately it is quite final.