Just trying to matter day by day
At 7:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning five months ago my mom called me, and by the low, shaky volume of her voice I knew something was wrong.
I sat up in bed and mentally began preparing myself to hear the news that my grandmother had passed away. But when she told me that my high school friend had committed suicide at the age of 25 I sat there holding the phone in shock for several minutes before I started uncontrollably crying. I cried for the unbearable pain his parents and brothers and sister must be feeling. My heart hurt for them.
In the next few days that passed I tried to sort out my confusion about why he chose to take his own life. I asked question after question to my close friend who also grew up with him and his family. We sobbed together and tried to find some way to console one another with the comfort of knowing he wasn’t suffering anymore, that whatever it was that was troubling him to hurt so much in this life wasn’t hurting him any longer. We know he is in heaven now watching over us.
His handsome dark features and perfect white smile reflected his charismatic personality and the love he had for his friends and family in the 4 X 6 photographs I held in my hand. Every time I looked at pictures of him I examined his eyes to see if I could see something I hadn’t seen before.
But nobody had any idea what pain he’d been carrying for who knows how long and how deep it went. He was just starting out, creating a life for himself. He was going to do great things.
Listening to his best friend break down in tears at the memorial service only broke my heart more. It was just beginning to sink in that their children wouldn’t be able to grow up together as they had planned.
Trying to comprehend that his suicide was a choice he chose to make that night is not easy to accept because behind all of the sadness and tragedy lies animosity for what he did. Suicide is a selfish act.
I kept trying to put myself in his shoes, asking “How could a person get to a place where they felt like they didn’t matter?” I called every one of my loved ones that week, even those I hadn’t talked to in months, just to make sure they knew I loved them.
Now it’s the finality of it all that has hit me. The realization that he’s not here is hard for me to wrap my head around. I saw his parents a couple weeks ago for the first time since the memorial. When I hugged both of them I got that same broken-hearted feeling when I saw the emptiness in their eyes that had never been there before. Their life goes one day at a time, knowing each day will be a day without their son.
June Carter Cash had a saying she lived by everyday, “I’m just trying to matter.” Since my friend’s suicide that simple sentence has kept me inspired and encouraged to make each moment matter, even on the days when I don’t feel like I’m making a difference.
Sierra Countis is a reporter with the Sierra Sun. Reach her at email@example.com.
For information on suicide prevention and mental health resources, see page 27 in today’s Sierra Sun.
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