I just posted this as a Facebook update. Why reinvent the wheel? (Though I did run this one through the Grammarly website whereas the post got the basic Grammary extension treatment.) When I published the last Medium story about suicide, Kate was still alive. This, here, on Medium, now, is the first place I’ve ever noted “niece” in public. I visited the hospital on Wednesday, started the post on Wednesday evening, published it on Thursday, and she was taken off life support on Friday.
Three suicides — two public, one other in my life — in the past ten days. How many others happen daily? I haven’t been talking publicly about the last one (and am being vague here) because I don’t want it to be about me and your offers of condolences. This isn’t about me. Suicide is never about the people left behind. Leaving someone behind doesn’t mean that the deceased didn’t love their family or didn’t consider them, it means that the pain was too much and they chose to end their suffering. They couldn’t get help when they needed it, or they refused help. Maybe they didn’t want help, or they got the wrong kind of support. You never know what’s going on behind a smile.
Instead of offering me condolences I’d rather people discuss suicide and educate themselves about suicide and depression. I’d rather you show support to other people. Offer help. Offer a smile. Offer a kind word. Don’t push, though. Don’t try to force someone to be “happy”. Don’t make it about you or anyone else other than them. Don’t tell them to “get over it.” Don’t use the word “selfish” (PLEASE!). Listen to them if they want to talk. Be there for them nonjudgmentally. And if someone who’s suicidal doesn’t want your help, know you did what you could and hope that they find peace either living or not.
Instead of offering condolences, make a difference. If someone you know commits suicide, don’t be angry, be compassionate. Remember their light. Remember their goodness. Acknowledge their pain.
Back to Medium: Please read my previous post about suicide. It talks about ways to help, what to say and what not to say, and also provides some resources. I have so many scraps of notes of comments I’ve made on posts and comments I want to make later, that I’ll probably write more Medium stories about suicide. I’ll leave you with this, which I posted to Instagram earlier:
(Though note that it’s part of a series of three photos, the other two of which are screenshots from a book that specifically addresses what I said in the caption. If you want the full context, read it on Instagram.)