Two years ago yesterday, I would have said that suicide was one of the most selfish acts there was in the world. But then two years ago today, suicide smacked my family directly in the heart and my view has changed. For some, it is an act of no control. And for some, it is an act of not being a burden. It is not a selfish act, for some it is a very bold act.
Two years ago, we flew to Dallas to hang out with family for a reunion. Uncles, cousins, in-laws, outlaws, and every one in between flew in from far reaches of the states just be together. We do it every few years in a different location. Each time, another 'sibling' puts the reunion on so it is often in a different location. And we have a blast.
We first get to be reintroduced, meet the new children and/or the new husband/wives, try to remember everyone's names, and settle down into some kind of routine. Breakfast and lunch on your own and dinner usually some planned activity. In between, we might go visit a museum, go river rafting, tour through Bass Pro, or just relax by the pool.
And after about a weekend, we've had enough of each other (not really), and we say our good-byes. Usually it is more like see you next reunion, see you in a few years, etc. And that is how it was 2 years ago when we had the reunion. However, none of us, well I can't speak for everyone, but me personally I didn't think it was the last time I would say good-bye to one. I didn't think it was the last time I would hug Josh, give him shit about something, and say good-bye. No where in a million years did I think that. I mean he had been void from facebook, but everyone disappears from time to time from there. I didn't think anything of it.
We flew back to Colorado. I will never forget where I was when I received the telephone call. I will relive that day for the rest of my life. I was at a stop light in Montrose on the way to get the morning chai when my telephone rang. Geez, I just saw my sister at the reunion what is she calling about. And then the words slipped from her lips and my world went white, black, and void. I hung up and my husband looked over at me knowing I was about to lose it, which I did. And I told him the news. Josh had left us.
Josh, my second cousin, the one I loved to give shit to about everything from smoking to get your ass studying had taken his own life. And it was then that my views of suicide collapsed. Throughout the day, I would have moments of glee knowing I had just spent a great weekend with him to moments of shear walls of tears. I of course screamed WHY WHY WHY a few times. I thought about the time I couldn't get the tv to work at his house and I posted on facebook to have one of his friends text him to call me because I couldn't figure out the system. I thought about the story of him saying that Nolan Ryan pitched to him at baseball camp (he lied, but he was little so I won't hold it against him). I remember all the great times we chatted on facebook. Yea, I look back not on this tragedy, but on the great life he lived and brought smiles to everyone's faces.
In the days following his death, I found out he had been suffering a mental illness and it was this disease that had pushed him to the brink of ending his life. Some will argue it is not a disease, but I don't give a shit what your opinion is because I know it took the life of a very young, fun loving, caring man from my life.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. And I truly don't think a month needs to be set aside for it. Every day should be suicide prevention. If you know someone who may be suffering, whether mental illness, depression, etc. attempt to do something. And it may be that every thing you do doesn't work, but at least you will know you tried rather than looking back and saying "woulda, shoulda, coulda".
Josh, you are forever in our hearts, and I know that you walk with your family high and low every day. I know you look down upon your nieces (and will for others to come) with love and whisper stories as they sleep. You left us way too early, but will always be here. I love you!