Soothed by the hum of my car, my mind replayed our last meeting where hope and active plans had replaced broken hopelessness. For the past 2 weeks, I had erroneously dismissed her no-shows as her volatile borderline personality’s decision to fire me. I was wrong.
Holding things together until a silly domestic dispute unleashed the brewing tornado inside, I stormed upstairs to contain the pain. Behind locked doors, my body shuddered from uncontrollable tears that blinded my eyes. She was the first patient I helped through psychotherapy and the first I lost through suicide.
The news of her death triggered anguish from past suicides of dear friends. Chopper, who blew off his face during our sophomore year of high school. Chopper had already transferred to another school, but those closer to him received a surprise visit with gifts of his personal possessions when he drove up to our school that morning. Later that afternoon, law enforcement found him in a nearby park. In a graduating class of around 100 students, we all grieved.
A few years later, another classmate, Aaron, sank into depression. He, too, shot himself. Just months before I’d received the call requesting my presence at his funeral, he had asked me if I would be his Valentine. Jokingly, I agreed, knowing our paths would never cross after our graduation. At his funeral, his parents insisted that I sat as a member of his immediate family.
Oh … the blinding lies of depression. Those who have fallen prey to suicide never knew the truth: Their lives and their deaths matter.
Even strangers weep.