Two years ago on new year’s day, I was getting ready in my room when my friend texted me and told me that one of my friends, who I hadn’t seen or talked to for a while, even though I felt that I had a strong bond with him, had killed himself the night before. I didn’t know what to say or what to do. This was something that I had never expected to happen. I was totally unprepared, stunned, and confused. For a few minutes, I just didn’t feel anything and I didn’t understand why. My dad came down to my room after a while and I couldn’t even tell him. I just started crying on his shoulders before I could tell him what happened. I called some of my mutual friends as soon as I could, they had already found out. I went to the home of one of my mentors and my friend that night and some of our other friends were there. Seeing them and making cookies with friends helped me out a lot. Just doing something and keeping myself moving and doing something when I had no idea what to do and could barely think. The next week at his wake, walking up to the casket and seeing his body was horrible. I wanted to pray. To say something meaningful and try to express what I was feeling, but again there was that feeling of nothing. Introducing myself to his mom, I wanted to say something to her to make it better. I learned that there are no words that can do this. A week later, she came to a meeting of a youth group that I was involved in to speak to us as we all tried to grieve together and make some sense of what had happened. In my head, there was no sense in it and I couldn’t understand. It was just something horrible and unbelievable that had happened.
About two weeks later, the morning we went back to school after Martin Luther King Day, my whole high school learned together that one of our classmates had killed himself. I felt the same things as I had before. I couldn’t speak, I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t know what to do, and I was totally unprepared. That day was miserable, but I am so proud to be a member of my class. We supported each other, as totally stunned as we might have been. Our teachers were there and our school as a whole supported each other. We had a mass that afternoon with our sister school for him and tearfully sang amazing grace together. Still there were absolutely no words, no action that gave this a meaning or a resolution. That night, our youth group met again to grieve together. Our leadership tried to help us keep moving, but there is a helplessness that could not be overlooked. At his wake, the line was out the door and around the corner. Most people stood in line for at least three hours to meet his family and see his body. If he had known, would it have changed his mind? My friends and I made our way through the funeral home over the course of a few hours, and as I tried to introduce myself to his dad, I could barely whisper. In front of his body, I tried again to say a prayer and to find something meaningful in my mind. At his funeral, I think I wanted to find some conclusion, but what I was grasping for wasn’t there.
These two points in my life are the most helpless I have ever felt. It took a long time for the sadness to stop totally occupying my mind, and I felt guilty for not talking to my friend for 6 months, and for not seeing it coming in my other friend. I had seen him just a few days before and talked to him. Learning that I would not see my friends again, that my classmate would not graduate with us that spring, was incredibly difficult.
Through my experiences I learned that when someone kills themselves, there are no words that will make it better and we are powerless to change what has happened. I also learned that if these people knew the effects that their lives had on others, how much they were loved, how much we miss them still, and that these feelings and their effects will always remain with us, they may have had a very different outlook on life. Because of this, I try to love more openly and show people support more openly in hopes that I can be just a glimpse to my friends of what they mean to the world.