(Editor’s Note: As we wrap up our month-long series collaboration focusing on suicide, this week’s Guest Viewpoint is particularly poignant, submitted by a Cottage Grove High School senior willing to share their first-hand experience dealing with the loss of a friend to suicide. Though the series is ending, we hope community members will continue to keep this important conversation going with one another as well as within these pages.)
April 24, 2019 — There are hidden sides to losing someone. Most feel sadness, a sense of loss, and some even feel happiness. Yet all these feelings are mixed up when you lose someone to suicide.
Last summer, I lost a dear friend to suicide. I had known her for more than four years. She was one of my closest friends. Even with us growing apart before her death, we always had each other’s back.
Her passing was very sudden just as anyone lost through suicide is. But even if I knew she was going to take her life, there’s no handbook on how to handle it. Once I learned the news, I had many mixed emotions. But the biggest was guilt.
I felt guilty for a lot of things. Not talking to her as much, growing distant from her, and not checking in on her. The biggest was that I forgot to wish her a happy birthday. I had set a reminder to message her but time slipped away — and I never did.
Now that her birthday is coming up again next month, I feel terrible for forgetting; I now make sure to message everyone that simple message when it’s their birthday.
Another thing was the unanswered questions. Her death left me with more questions than answers. Things like this are difficult because you can ask anyone — and everyone — and they never can give you an answer.
Some questions I began asking were “Did she know I loved her?” “What pushed her to this?” “Why did she not message me?” and “I thought she was getting better?”
Now, I never will get an answer to those questions. At the same time, those questions have helped change me to who I am. The tragedy is an open door to grow.
Her passing has taught me to make sure my friends and family know I care for them and how quickly someone can be gone. And as it gets close to one year since she passed, all I can say is that if anyone ever feels like she did to please reach out.
Someone cares about you and wants you to be happy. There are other ways to relieve the pain you are feeling. Many people are willing to help you through this. Some resources are the National Suicide Hotline (1-800-273-8255) and the online chat.
Just remember: No matter what, someone cares about you.