He was happy.
She was always smiling.
He seemed to be doing well in his recovery.
She seemed to be adjusting better.
She seemed fine. He didn’t say anything that would have alerted anyone. I never saw him cry. I never saw her complain, or break down, or give up. I never saw it coming at all.
These were some of the sentiments shared this past Saturday, at Solano County’s first official Out of the Darkness Suicide Awareness walk. Brave souls, courageous survivors shared their story, their heartbreak of dealing with suicide and the loss of a loved one.
Truthfully, as a young person, I didn’t think about suicide much. I definitely suffered through the tortured teen angst many young people experience in junior and high school, but I never thought much about suicide aside from the general idea of it. Many years later, after a family friend suffered this devastating loss, I thought long and hard about it all. Let’s just say, it changed my entire mind frame. It woke me up. Now, whenever I read or hear in the news about the loss of another young soul, already so tired and hurt, it breaks my heart a little bit more. As one speaker so eloquently explained, it isn’t so easy to see the loss of hope in a person. Sometimes, the ones who hurt the deepest hide it the best. Believe me, I personally know this to be true.
In support of my friend and her family, we joined their team and walked for awareness. We walked in support, in grief, in joy, in sadness, in memory, and in hope. In the hope to raise awareness. It can happen to anyone. But as friends, family, and community members, we can do all that is possible to help.
I thought it most powerful, that the main speaker, a man that had lost his 19 year-old son to suicide, and more recently his wife to cancer, was so tenaciously courageous and honest about his survival. He shared how it wasn’t just his faith, or his therapist, or his family member’s memory that allowed him to get through his darkest days; it was other people. His close friends, extended family, church members, acquaintances, even strangers who helped him in those initial moments. I can’t say one ever heals, but I can imagine that with love, support and continued diligence, one can survive such a devastating loss.
My prayers and thoughts and support goes out to anyone who has ever lost someone to suicide, or even considered it themselves. Be strong. We love you. We want you here.
in loving memory of Christopher Melendez