This morning, a senior at the high school committed suicide. It hit me harder than I expected. Though I didn't know the boy, Alicia did, and his mom has been a fixture at both the middle and high schools for years. I went, both for Alicia since she couldn't and to be there for the mom. The death came as a huge surprise to everyone since the boy was active, well-liked, and generally the kind of kid who always steps in to help others.
But I know as well as anyone that looks can be deceiving. I think I got hit extra-hard by this because this is the first time I've been able to identify so closely with both sides. I suffered from serious depression for a very long time. Hell, I still get heavy bouts of it. It was the worst in my teens and early twenties, though, bad enough that I was hospitalized twice for failed suicide attempts. I was utterly convinced the world would be better off without me. It took a lot of therapy and getting out of toxic relationships for me to fight my way out of the worst to it. So I understand what it feels like to think you have absolutely no other choices out there.
But now I'm a parent. And for the first time, I'm looking at my mother and wondering how wrong I would've been about her reaction if I'd succeeded. She's not demonstrative. She doesn't say I love you. But considering how devastated I would be if one of my kids thought I wouldn't want to understand or help them through whatever might drive them to such extreme thoughts, I have to believe my mom would've taken it just as badly.
So I cried. A lot. I'm still crying some. And I had a long talk with Alex about what happened, and making sure he knows I will always love him no matter what, that there is nothing he ever has to deal with all on his own if he's feeling overwhelmed. I kept crying in the middle of it, which prompted him to keep hugging me, but I felt better having said it all.
And I mourn for the boy the world lost today and the future he won't have now. If I'd been successful in my attempts, I wouldn't have met Craig or had my amazing kids. Sure, life is tough, and I wake up some days in a lot of pain, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Hug your loved ones, please. Appreciate them. Tell them how you feel. Life's too short.