Not Something to Joke About
By Abby Cross
*All names have been changed or are not used to protect the privacy of these people.
Suicide. It’s not something to joke about, but everybody does.
As a young child, I was never aware of suicide. I was familiar with death, as I had had older relatives pass away of old age, or some type of illness. At that age, though, I was unaware of what death really meant.
It wasn’t until about age 10 that I actually encountered suicide. I was outside in our shop working with my dad, or more so he was working and I was sitting watching him. He got a phone call from my grandma, his mom. I had no idea what was going on at the time. As he answered his phone, I saw his face drop. He began to cry and immediately hung up the phone. This was the first time I’d ever seen my dad cry; it wouldn’t be the last time in the next couple of weeks either.
He walked outside quickly and just stood in the middle of our backyard full of rocks and stared at the sky. I was still unaware of what was going on. I was too scared to ask him why he was crying, since I’d never seen him like that before. I think he forgot I was there because he looked startled when he realized I was standing there staring at him.
He tossed me his cell phone and told me to call my grandma back and tell her he was sorry for hanging up and that he was too upset to talk.
I called her back and she told me what had happened. His childhood best friend, Rob, had shot himself in the head and killed himself. This came as a shock to me considering the previous weekend we had went to his house after hunting, and he and my dad sat around talking and laughing for hours. I would have never guessed anything could be wrong with Rob.
My dad and Rob had been best friends their entire lives. They had gone to school together from kindergarten until they graduated college and were still friends long after. Even now, looking back, I can still remember what his smile looked like because it could light up an entire room.
This was only one of the three times suicide had rocked my world.
The second time someone in my life had committed suicide, I was 13 and in 7th grade. We were sitting in second hour, reading class, when there was an announcement over the intercom telling teachers to keep everybody in their second hour class. We were all a little bit confused, but happy because we were in our favorite teacher’s class. She was called out of the room and came back in crying. Now we were really confused. A few minutes later the principal came in and made an announcement that changed the rest of the school year for many of us. He told us that one of our classmates had shot himself in the head the previous night.
It took a very long time before anybody said anything. We were all trying to process what we had just heard. There was a lot of crying. Every single person in the room was crying. For many people, this was the first time they had experienced something like this. Many people didn’t understand how this could be true considering they had just talked to him the previous day, or like me, had sat next to him in class and laughed all hour.
All of his close friends blames the “popular kids” for bullying him, but as far as I could see, he was loved by everyone. His death hurt a lot of people. His funeral was packed. People had to stand outside, or in the refreshment room and watch on screens. He was loved by so many people, but he just couldn’t see it.
The most recent, and most impacting time suicide rocked my life was at the end of my junior year. Thankfully, this time, it was a failed attempt.
My best friend, took 40 sleeping pills one night because her boyfriend wouldn’t let her come hang out with him and his friends. Her boyfriend, at the time, had just gotten back from working out of state and had been with her for four days straight, and had not been allowed to see any of his other friends. He decided that a friend’s night was in order. We’d go bowling then go out to Merino for a small party. He did not want her to go because he really needed some space from her.
He let her come bowling with us, which was fine, but he wouldn’t let her come out to Merino with us, seeing as he needed a night away from her. She relentlessly called and texted him saying that she was coming with him and that he needed to pick her up. He repeatedly told her that he loved her but he needed some time with his friends.
We all drove out to Merino and were having a great time laughing and hanging out. She had quit texting him. He and I had went upstairs to talk when he received a text from her saying, “I’m sorry. I love you. Bye.” We both started freaking out and he called her. She said she had taken some sleeping pills because she just wanted to forget everything and go to bed. Little did we know she had taken 40 of them. We both knew something was very wrong. Him, in his truck, and my boyfriend and I, in his car, took off from Merino and made it to Sterling in a little over 10 minutes.
When we pulled up to her house, he was outside banging on the front door, but no one would answer. I told him to try the garage. He put in the code and it opened. We ran inside to find her laying on the stairs right next to the garage door, pretty much passed out. I ran into her mom’s room to tell her what was going on as he rushed her to the emergency room.
Her mom didn’t believe me when I told her what had happened. She said she was faking it to get attention. I told her it was serious and that he was taking her to the ER. My boyfriend and I then rushed there to meet them.
She ended up in the hospital for two days on suicide watch. Her mom blamed me for “excluding her” and wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say, even though I was one of the people who saved her daughter’s life.
After she came back to school, she was very different. We hardly ever talked, and when we did, it was very awkward. I’m sad to say that I lost my best friend that night, even though she is still actually alive.
Suicide is a topic that is thrown around as a joke or is not taken very seriously until it happens to someone you know. It’s something that just about every person experiences in their lifetime, even though we should not have to. So please, don’t joke about suicide. It can change your life forever.