We lost power at work yesterday. Apparently all of the A/Cs kicking on for the first time this year (high was over 95°F yesterday) caused a neighborhood transformer to explode. I know this first-hand because it happened as I was crossing our parking lot to head to lunch. Since the repairs were going to take several hours at a minimum, and not all of us are lucky enough to have laptops to work from battery power, our executives closed our office for the day.
So it wasn’t until this morning that I saw the email from our CEO. The email announcing that one of the girls in our council had died “in an incident” on a local bridge yesterday. The email went on to say what a valuable member she’d been, that she’d been very involved in our programs, and that our thoughts and prayers were with her friends and family.
A quick perusal of the newspaper explained that she (a sophomore) and her boyfriend (a senior) had jumped off a bridge to their deaths in the wee hours yesterday morning.
And I cried.
I didn’t know this girl. I don’t know what was going on in her life to make her think this was a good idea or the only answer. I have been to that dark, desperate place before. All I can say is, it gets better.
My family has been touched by suicide. I can speak first-hand on the questions that are left behind. And I can tell you about the things you miss when you take your own life. I can also tell you that I’ve yet to meet a person left behind after such an experience who says, “Thank goodness __________ is gone. Good riddance!” Instead, there are the brokenhearted who remain to ask questions that will never have answers, replaying last conversations, wondering if they missed a clue that this was going to happen, wondering what they could have done differently, blaming themselves for not doing X, Y or Z, because that might’ve changed everything.
Suicide is awful. It’s painful, despite what the theme to M*A*S*H might tell you. People who commit suicide typically think it’s “for the best”. If you believe that’s true, then tell the people you think it’s best for before you do it! See what they say.
If life is too hard to go on, it’s okay to take a break. If you need to hide under the covers for a week or more, do it. Tell someone how desperate you feel. Listen to them when they tell you they care.
This beautiful, wonderful 16-year old girl will miss prom, graduation, getting married, maybe having kids of her own, because she was in such a dark place she couldn’t see the light anymore. If you’re in the dark, I promise you, the light is still there. Someday it will creep back in. Just give it more time.