I hate death. I deeply struggle to cope with it. I know I’m not alone in this one. I battle with a lack of faith. I have a compulsive, pointless need to make sense of the unknown, inevitably to no avail.
Alas, I want to know. Desperately. I want Kate to tell me what the world did wrong to fail her so we can do better now. I want outspoken, feminist Anthony to have some dark secret that tortured him so much that he left behind a grieving girlfriend who only just began to see justice for a sexual assault that plagued her for half her life already. I want Chester to leave those of us who have related to his music and his pain some reason to believe we don’t have to let it end us like it ended him. I want some reassurance that they’ve got it so much worse than the rest of us, to feel like their suicides are justified rather than mere statistics and consequences of depression.
I want to understand why this man who inspired many, who abundantly explored this magnificent planet, didn’t buy a plane ticket to Tokyo where he loved it so much instead of a one way ticket to death. I want to know how this woman who surely has endured the deaths of others in her 55 years could really believe that her daughter would have been better off facing adolescence without her mother. I want something to make me believe that she is better off. Something that allows me to forgive her, him, all of them, that makes me believe it was the right thing for them to do. Because otherwise it wasn’t.
Otherwise it was an irreversible mistake. Otherwise it was wrong. Otherwise it was just depression, or pain, or heartache, or some other feeling I might have had and managed to go on with. I want to know what makes them any different than me that gives them the right to run away from this fucking terrible miracle that is life.
I want them to tell me what it is that took them from thoughts not unlike the ones I’ve had to plans they successfully followed through with. I want them to have known what they would have needed to change their mind back so I can feel like there’s some way to prevent anyone else from following in their footsteps. I want to feel like their deaths will mean something more than agony. I want there to be some lesson we can learn besides that fortune and fame aren’t the secret to happiness nor the cure for mental illness.
My heart hurts for those we have lost and what they must have felt to take their own life. Hurts for their loved ones who I’m sure will have more questions and be more haunted than the rest of us. Hurts for all those who these suicides serve as a reminder of those they’ve loved and lost. Hurts for those who I love who I know are hurting, who I am terrified of losing. All I have to give is my words and my actions and my love and I’m trying my best to give it all, but I know Anthony’s will not be the last suicide — in fact, statistically, around 270 humans have killed themselves since the news broke three hours ago. I want to know the answer, how to make life a more bearable thing. I don’t want anyone else to die.
Usually I get annoyed when people respond to suicides by just posting the suicide hotline number, but today I get it. I feel helpless to help. I don’t know who you are reading this, but I don’t want you to die. If you’re thinking about leaving, first call 1-800-273-8255, or contact me — I will listen, or contact a loved one who will listen, or think about what’s causing you so much pain and see if there’s anything that will change it. If you didn’t get enough sleep, give yourself a week to get caught up. If you haven’t eaten yet, go and eat your favorite thing. If you feel guilty about something, own up to it; lighten the load. Apologize for the things you regret. Apologize to yourself for the ways you have let yourself down. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. If you hate your job, quit. Quit your job before you quit your life. Ask for help. Go volunteer. Take a day off and do something for you. Set a long term goal. Try something new. Think about a cause you care about and contribute to it. Move to a new place. Get out of a toxic relationship. Call an old friend. Watch your favorite show. Read your favorite book. Smell your favorite smell. Remember a time when you were happy and ask yourself what you can do to be that way again. Get a therapist. Buy a self-help book. Meditate, and if you don’t know how close your eyes and count your breaths or download the Headspace app. Remember how many decisions you make every day and realize how much power that gives you over the outcome of your life. Don’t leave. Please don’t leave.