After The Storm

It was the week leading into finals for the fall semester. In the middle of studying for an upcoming exam, I got the call. I just saw him last weekend. Well, actually it was the night before Thanksgiving and he wanted to get together over the weekend. I said “Absolutely!” but we never got together. And, now this!
“Why didn’t I call him?”
“What was so important that I didn’t call?”
“Would it have made a difference?”
“Was it my fault?”
I have asked those questions hundreds of times.
I remember exactly where he was at when he asked me to get together.
I can picture his face.
We were not super close but we became friends through a mutual friend.
It doesn’t matter, I knew him and we shared experiences and memories.
That was over 30 years ago. Clearly, I have not forgotten. It was the first time in my 19 years of life that someone died as a result of suicide. Unfortunately, it is not the only one. But, the same thing happens every time.
The flood of memories. The questions. The guilt. The sadness. The feeling of loss and emptiness.
I still don’t know after all these years “why”. I assume, I never will.
But, I know I try really hard to be aware of those moments when someone is reaching out and it seems a little different. I continue to educate myself about the risk factors and warning signs that lead to the darkness of hopelessness and despair.
I pray for courage to not be silent and move toward their pain and just listen and act when they need it.
If you are in that dark place, don’t give up hope. Reach out and keep reaching out till someone grabs hold.
If you are someone who has been left after the storm, know your grief is normal. You are not alone. It is not your fault.
Where ever you are at on your journey there is Light and hope. Don’t give up. Reach out.

Choosing to be a Light in the darkness.

–kevin