The events that occurred 11 years ago today are, without a doubt, some of the most important of my life. However, that’s not all that I am remembering today.
Yesterday was Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day. A day devoted to preventing suicides around the world. Two years ago, my little brother walked with his fraternity to raise money to support this cause. But, even seeing the outpouring of grief he must have experienced that day was not enough to stop him from killing himself just three short months after that walk.
As I know that I have said here before, I was floored when my brother took his life. He was one of the happiest people I knew. And, it was quite clear that we had no idea how much he was suffering.
Despite what some members of my family feel, I know in my heart that there was probably nothing we could have done to save him. Some people are quick to decide to kill themselves; the decision is impulsive. And, some people plan it out for a long time. My brother was the latter. Through thousands of “I love you’s” and people asking “Dude, is everything okay?,” he still decided to end his life.
I think everyday what would have happened if he had reached out to just one person, one time. And, I “if only” everyday that we had learned more about the little pieces of the puzzle that created a scary picture of his mental health. But, we didn’t. And, ultimately, he followed through on what we thought was only a passing teenage angst of the desire to “die young.”
When I told the Boy about the significance of the day yesterday, he reminded me that more of our service members are dying right now at their own hands than that of the enemies. Soldiers that are separated from their families. Soldiers seeing what I can only imagine are some horrible things in the far reaches of the world. Soldiers that are there to protect our freedom after that horrible reminder 11 years ago today of what evil lurks in the world.
So, while I know that some of those soldiers that are deciding to take their lives might have been, like my brother, planning this end for a long time, there may be just as many that need a helping hand, a warm smile, or an “I love you” or “Dude, is everything okay?”