Suicide is Not A Dirty Word.
327 days ago, I lost my lifelong best friend of 36 years to suicide.
There. I said it:
Since that super-shitty day late last October, I haven’t said, much less posted, that word publicly, because I feared that any mention of Kevin’s ugly ending threatened to forever steal the focus from his beautiful beginning, middle, and postscript. I still don’t like to think about it, and I still don’t like to say it.
But today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, I’m piping up. Piping up because if this last year has taught me anything, it’s that while secrets soothe, and the truth hurts, life’s too damned short to let decorum and discreteness risk it becoming even shorter.
As a writer… a “language guy“… I respect the power resident in a simple word. The “S-Word”, not unlike the “N-Word”, is pregnant with prejudice and whispered judgement. Eyes askew; Quiet condemnation. *Unlike* the N-Word, however, Suicide isn’t an epithet or a pejorative. It’s a fact. A cruel, heart-wrenching fact. And all the politeness and etiquette in the world doesn’t change the fact that Kevin might still be here today if his vast network of friends were more AWARE of his struggle. His daily, unrelenting, torturous struggle.
And so, despite my not having any particular expertise in this subject, nor any of you specifically in mind, I’d simply like to make you, dear reader, as personally and profoundly aware as possible that I’m here for you if you’re ever having a dark day, and i’ll be damned if “Stigma”, an even uglier S-Word, stands between you and your tomorrow.
Let’s make “I had no idea” go away forever.