Project SETH recently learned of two more young adults that took their own lives. Learning of one life lost at the age of 17 was enough to bring immediate tears to my eyes. I felt them rolling down my face before I realized I was crying. 30 minutes later we got the call of another 24 year old who couldn’t see any hope. I was still brushing the tears from my cheeks from the last call when this just compounded what I was feeling and brought emptiness in my heart. This is real.
My first thought is always of the child. How is it possible to see such darkness that you cannot see any hope? I imagine a crowd surrounding them in those troubling last moments and enveloping them with love and compassion and hope. I imagine the darkness lifts and their heart opens to the love they had no idea was so close to them, that accepts them for who they are in our world.
My second thought is for the parent/s. The heartache and the struggle to breathe are real. The emptiness is real. Their death is a physical pain that can take your breath away. Your mind races 24/7 with “what-ifs” and cannot get past what went wrong. You fall to sleep crying. You wake crying. The bond between parent and child doesn’t just end with death; it is a bond that lasts forever.
My next thought is the friends and family. The shock they are feeling and questions they are asking themselves. “What happened? What did I miss? What could I have done?” Maybe they are rehashing the last time spent together and trying to make something out of nothing or maybe realizing the warning signs were present. They will have to be reminded to take one day at a time, but they will survive.
We found out later these young people took their lives within hours of each other. Miles apart they were experiencing the same hopelessness and did not reach for help. They were 2 of the average 17 young people that take their lives on a DAILY basis. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in teens and takes more lives than cancer. Suicide is taking lives of kids at younger and younger ages every day. 9, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 24…suicide at any age should not be accepted.
The tears I shed for Seth will always include tears for each child we learn died by suicide. It is daily we’re reminded Seth is gone just like other parents trying to live through their loss. Suicide will not stop unless we make a change. Imagine what we can do by sharing our experiences, helping each other, and offering one another hope. Our goal is to hear more stories of hope and share fewer and fewer stories filled only with memories. This is real. Let’s be the change.

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