Another young man died by suicide last week. This time it hit close to home. It was our son’s old friend. I say old because they had lost touch in the last three years. The moment I was told Saturday I understood why our son hadn’t answered my simple texts. How did the test go? What time will you be coming on Saturday? Then of course came, R U OK? Yes, had been the cryptic reply.
It was the first thing out of his mouth. He stood next to me, close, and said, “Devon killed himself Wednesday.” (Devon is not his real name) The lump in my throat arrived instantly and tears welled. This child had been in our home. He had played a vital role in supporting our son during his difficult transition to high school. Always smiling, even happy-go-lucky, what had changed in three years? Suffice to say, we will never know.
Yes it is the Easter season. This post was originally going to be about something pleasant, wonderful, and spring-ish. But it isn’t spring for Devon’s family. Nor is it spring for other parents and siblings going through what they’re going through. Nor is it spring for people who are gripped in the claws of a serious depressive episode. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens and contrary to popular belief the rates peak in spring, not winter.
Jesus took our sufferings into His Self and died with them. When He rose He gave us hope, comfort, and life. That’s all we need to know, all we can know really. The rest of life’s perpetual questions will remain questions.
Our son gave us an example of how to deal with difficult news. He gave a few pictures and a video clip of Devon to a friend of the family, spent some private time making sense of the news as best he could, and then shared the news with us so he wouldn’t be alone in it. Then he said, “I’m alright now,” and he was. We spent the rest of our time celebrating Easter and the gift of another spring.
Suicide Hotline for the U.S.: 1-800-273-8255
Picture is mine and was taken in our neighborhood, Spring 2014