I've written a lot lately about how wonderfully things are going in my life, but something happened last week that stopped me in my tracks. One of my brother's friends from high school passed away from suicide.
I can't claim that I knew her very well. My brother was friends with her, and I worked with her brother for a while. I remember meeting her a few times when I was in sixth grade and she was in tenth, during my (brief and ill-advised) stint on the cross-country team after I moved to Michigan. What I do remember, from my own memories and from what I've heard from others, is that she was intelligent and lovely and a ray of light to all around her: the sort of person that everyone admired. And that's not from looking back with rose-colored glasses. That's simply who she was.
Despite the fact that I hardly knew her, I've found myself struggling to fight back tears for the past week. This is the second time in less than 18 months that a friend of a friend has died by suicide, and it absolutely breaks my heart. I can't stand seeing these vibrant lives cut short. Two beautiful-inside-and-out girls is two too many. Two people is too many, period.
I feel simultaneously somewhat powerless and absolutely compelled to do something - what little I can. I'm planning on putting the number for the suicide hotline in my sidebar. I don't know if my posting it - or this post - will help anyone, but I feel I must say something. It's too important and I can't stay quiet.
If you need to talk, there are always people who will listen. My inbox (for what it's worth) is always open.
Otherwise, if you're not struggling, take time to talk to your loved ones - and listen. Really, truly listen. Your time is one of the greatest gifts you can give, and you never know the difference it could make to someone who's struggling.
Memorize these numbers:
- Depression Hotline: 1-630-482-9696 | Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-8433 | National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK
And stay well, friends.