Usually, I take this tiny corner of my internet and talk about whatever cool things in the technology world caught my attention. We had a couple of those things happen this week, too. Like the Galaxy S21 which I think will be one of the best Android phones you can buy, especially once we see those inevitable sales and price drops in a few months. But I’m not going to write about any of those things today. I’m going to write about misery.
I know that we all go through something heartbreaking once in a while and that I’m not special, but this felt like the worst week of my life. A family member and her husband committed suicide. She had been in and out of rehab, and yes, she died from an overdose, but the notes left no doubt that this was not an accidental overdose.
A lot of people take their lives every day and this particular double-suicide isn’t any more significant than any other, except this one was in my family. And I can’t help but shake the feeling that somehow it was my fault. Or someone else in my family’s fault. How in the name of Christ could things get so bad and none of us noticed? Why didn’t my phone start ringing to tell me she needed me instead of her mother telling me she was dead? But most of all, why didn’t I call her to let her know I loved her and I was there?
I lost people I love because they didn’t reach out for the right help. And I didn’t offer it enough.
Losing someone you love is hard. We’ll all go through it at least once in our lives. And we’ll all work our way through it and carry on. I’m starting to get to that part, but most of this week has been a family trying to convince itself that this wasn’t its fault. She never let anyone know how bad things inside her head were, or that her husband was in a dark place. She was …normal. As normal as someone struggling with addiction could be. The real worry was that she’d stumble and go back to the needle, not that she would be able to go there and hide it until it took her past the brink.
I mentioned losing someone you love is hard, but unless you’ve been through it, you might not know that losing someone through suicide is a completely different circle of hell level hard. Suicide has a stigma that doesn’t wash off and you can see some very ugly things from people who aren’t normally ugly people when you talk about it. She was a close cousin from the Christian half of my family, and some of my relatives are a part of that “old-time religion” you hear about where suicide is a one-way ticket to hell and doesn’t even earn a proper funeral or a burial with the rest of the family. Others just didn’t want to face what happened. And some, like me, got angry about all of it while we were also miserable and guilty.
It’s Friday afternoon while I’m writing this, and I’m in a better place. At least one where I can think. I know I should have picked up the phone once in a while and checked in on a cousin with a heroin addiction. But I also know I didn’t cause her or her husband to take their own lives. I know three other things, too:
- You have a phone because everyone has a phone. If you start to feel like the world is shit, call 800-273-8255. That’s the suicide prevention hotline and no, it is not just there for when you have the gun in your mouth or the needle in your fist. It’s there to let you know life is not shit and even if it were, you killing yourself only makes it worse because you are a good person who deserves to be loved.
- You have a phone. firstname.lastname@example.org is my email address. I’m on Twitter @gbhil, too. If you feel like the world is shit, I am here to tell you it’s not, and that you deserved to be loved, and that I love you even if you think nobody else does.
- There are plenty of people who have been on the side where the world seems like shit or the side where they want to do anything to help you when you feel that way. Some people have probably been on both sides. Let those people help you. Let them love you. Love them back.
You also probably have someone in your life right now who wants to love you, and who you want to love back. My extended family here at Android Central has been here to help me. And seeing them love and be loved has been a big part of that. It’s also something everyone deserves to see, just in case you need to be reminded a little bit about love.