It was a horrible weekend in New Paltz. A fifteen-year-old, a student at the high school, committed suicide. I don’t know her parents, but I ache at the very thought of their agony. Suicidal ideation is something I don’t pretend to understand. What sets it off, especially in a kid, is a mystery. It tears friends and families apart, that much I know.
The three people I’ve known who killed themselves each left gaping holes in the lives of others, including my own.
When I was in college I had a friend, Mike, who I worked with one night a week for several hours, sitting side by side at a table, attending to the layout of a newspaper. He was a great guy and a good friend. A few years later we had a very minor confrontation over something. I forget what. We remained friends, but the closeness of our friendship ended.
Many years later, when I got in touch with a mutual friend, he told me in a matter of fact way that Mike had done the carbon monoxide thing in his car in his garage. Something about a failed marriage. And it still hurts when I think about it. Maybe if we had stayed close he could have called me and I might have talked him out of it. That’s how friends and family think about such things.
So, first, don’t do it. Don’t let those thoughts take you over. Turn to someone. Turn to God. Think about your friends and those who love you. Shake it off, pull yourself out of it, and live.