Though the origins of this quote are uncertain, it brings about an air of finality.
People die every day for a variety of reasons. Fatal crashes, natural calamities, crimes, natural reasons, and sometimes, self-inflicted. Regardless of the cause, there is always a sense of loss and emptiness that follows.
Those who are left behind are wondering if they ought to have been left behind. Others start to think about their own mortality and choices. Thoughts of “That could have been me” do come into consciousness.
More than feeling a sense of loss, confusion, and sadness over the immediate news of knowing someone who shares a lot of things in common with you deciding to take the way out, the feeling of outrage over an article describing what had happened with such poor taste and in a condescending manner emerges.
But I’m getting carried away.
I am not here to criticize a writeup. I am here to try to make sense of what had happened though I know I probably never will. I am here to try anyway.
It’s silencing to think that the casual acquiantance you saw once a week for an entire school year, the one you always saw as being the nice guy with abig heart, would just one day decide that it’s all too much and ended everything with one blow.
Just how wrong could you be about a person’s situation?
We’ve scoffed at people who we’ve unfairly written off to be snobbish and shied away from those we assumed to be better than us (see: perfect). But we’ve also been wrong.
That girl you labeled as snobbish a few months back turned out to share your interests and helped give you a few pointers and words of encouragement when you needed them.
That guy you saw as intimidatingly “perfect” puts you at ease when he introduces himself first in the group and isn’t afraid to make fun of himself, making him so much more approachable than you originally thought.
We get people wrong at times. We’ve judged them before we’ve gotten to know them and now we take back what we said. We get people wrong at times and in the end, it’s better than we did.
But then there are those times when we are wrong in our views of people, and how we wish that we weren’t.
That friendly nice guy you casually knew? The one who seemed to handle life’s curveballs better than others? The one who pulled wacky faces for photos but also helped out whenever he could? Gone. And by his own hand.
The discrepancy between who we think people are and who they really are is, in this case, numbing.
The disbelief stays with you longer than you want it to. Then it leaves. And then it creeps back.
You begin to wonder “what happened?”
You share a common history with this person. Roughly the same age, similar socio-economic backgrounds, mutual friends, a common class. This could have been you or anyone else you know. The reality that this could have been the choice of anyone else who is so much like you, completely opposite you, or even you, yourself sinks in.
Perhaps those who are left behind will never fully understand what drove indiduals to take their own life, even with an explanation or note prepared before the act. There are usually many factors that push a person to their end, with some factors greater than others, but these never seem to be explanation enough for those left behind.
I don’t think any of us saw this coming, Brian. But I do hope you are getting the strength and the support you need up there. We’ll be praying for you, your family, and everyone whose lives you have touched. Rest in peace.