How Losing a Friend to Suicide Opened My Eyes

In 2016 around Thanksgiving, my older brother and I lost a friend who was close to our hearts. Although he was my brother’s friend first, I looked to him as a family figure and was always fond of him whenever he came around. His death came as a shock to us and many of his family members, and I can honestly say that it contributed to shaping who I am today. The following is what I’ve learned and taken away from the tragedy.

The Stigma Of Suicide

After attending the funeral, I was too overwhelmed with emotions and thoughts to really think about how the service was and about the guests that were there. Now, looking back at everything, I remember how there was a sense of tension in the atmosphere, and not the kind that we typically feel at funerals. For instance, I left the building for a few seconds and when I returned, the preacher was going on about Adam and Eve, and other topics that seemed to be disconnected from the service. The service was not bad in any way, but the topics of the scriptures that were selected didn’t have anything to do with the deceased; I think that’s because it was easier to be generic in order to stray away from the cause of his death. A lot of people generally see suicide as an uncomfortable, frowned-upon topic to discuss. I feel in the minority community we do it the most and I figure that is why everyone was trying to mask it. This taught me that we as a community need to have the conversation, and make it known that suicide truly happens; it isn’t just a taboo that we should overlook.

Is It Really Worth It?

I know hearing “it’s not worth it” is very annoying by now, and everyone says it, but after that funeral I can truly say it is not worth your life. I was just a friend, so when I saw his mother and his sister so overwhelmed by pain, and full of regret as if there was something they could have done to prevent it all, it definitely broke my heart. I’ve heard that sometimes it doesn’t help to bring up how your loved ones will feel when it comes to suicidal thoughts, so another motivator I would like to bring up is where he would be now. If he just pulled through a little longer, he could have been something wonderful, and still with us today and that is very unfortunate.

What I am thankful for:

Although it was a dark time for us, I took some key points away from the event and I’m glad I did. I am thankful for my parents for taking me to the funeral, because it was held at a town out of our way and he was mostly a friend of my brother’s, but they understood why I needed to attend. Secondly, I’ve been to funerals of family members before and it is always devastating but viewing a friend in a casket was an entirely different experience for me. I’m not sure if it’s because it was him or because we were close in age, but it was a very painful, eye-opening thing. It allowed me to see suicide in a brand-new light. I still have a lot to learn about it but I’m now aware of the subject and hold the lesson near and dear to my heart. Whether you’ve lost someone to suicide, having suicidal thoughts yourself or only see it in the media, the point of view influences your mindset drastically. It showed me how life is precious, and you never know what people are going through even the ones who always wear a smile on their face. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please know your storm is temporary and know there are better things ahead. Please also call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255.