Yesterday, a young man jumped off a four-story parking garage and died on impact when he hit the sidewalk below. He was in his early twenties.

I had seen a news report which began cryptically about a suspicious man in the garage downtown. And then later, a body was found outside of the garage. A name was released, then the street where he lived, an affluent side of town. He was a couple of years behind my youngest so I didn’t know him or his family but I suspect my youngest probably did or knows someone who knew him.

Later last night, at a gathering at church, one of our friends told us her daughter knew the young man and had talked with him last week. She was upset because she wondered if she had missed something in their conversation. A clue. A sign that her friend was going to commit suicide jumping off the top of a four-story parking garage.

I have written about suicide numerous times on this blog. I have lost several people over the years to what I can only describe as the horrible disease of mental illness. I have even discussed my own struggles ten years ago with depression and my thankfully fleeting thoughts of suicide as well. But this kid, this kid that I didn’t personally know kept me up last night.

The reason I couldn’t sleep wasn’t so much that he committed suicide but how he did it. Now, I know that is going to sound very weird to some of you that I was seemingly more concerned about the manner in which he killed himself rather than his death itself. No, I mourn his passing. I grieve for his family as a father and as a human being. My, for lack of a better word, interest in the way he went about it is speaking as someone who has contemplated suicide himself.

When I had those, as I described, thankfully fleeting thoughts the “goal” was quick, painless, no room for error or change of heart. I ran through several scenarios in my mind which included who and how I would be found. In the end I decided what I thought I was gaining or accomplishing didn’t even remotely equal to what I would be losing or hurting. Ten years later I realize, everyday, what a selfish act it would have been. I also realize how it would have destroyed my family.

But this young man stood on a wall four stories off the ground and jumped. There was no guarantee that it would kill him, a high probability, but no guarantee. I imagined last night the loneliness he must have felt as the cold April wind attempted to blow him back on to the parking deck. He must have hesitated, had second thoughts. A swirl of moments had to be rushing through his brain, moments that included faces of family and friends of good times and bad. What was it about those moments that he couldn’t see? What was it about his future that brought him to the top of this parking deck, standing on the wall looking out at a beautiful vista of mountains in the background on this cloudy and cold April day, and jump? What?

As I have done in the past I will beg, I will implore anyone that reads this to ask for help if you are depressed. I know, first hand, that life is worth living and yes there will be good days and bad, up days and down, it’s called living. There are so many adventures in front of each of us. Even the dark days are moments spent here with people who care and love us. People that want to hug us and hear our voice. Life is already short. I can think of no reason to make it shorter.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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15 Responses to What?

  1. It’s hard to ‘like’ your post. Like you, I’ve had dark dark days that no one would even realize as I’m the quintessential southerner, which means, I have a radiant smile, am a born actress and I can fake it till I make it in order to not worry my children. But I’ve been on a ledge in my mind many times, esp years ago when raising a baby and 7 year old solo with a dying mother who couldn’t help and last year when someone I loved broke his neck. But life has ups and downs, doesn’t it? It’s who we are within the space of sorrow and challenges that defines us. With that said, I know clinical depression can be a dark, temperamental animal that is hard to tame or console. When living in NYC, I recall a man jumping from a high rise in my neighborhood and breaking the walkway framing into the building. I was horrified, and even more so by the people walking by who were vocalizing how ‘pissed’ they were to be inconvenienced by the tent put up by ER & detectives forcing them to cross the street and go to work a different route. It was horrifying. I kept imaging the soul of that young man up above watching all of us below. Keep writing. Love your blog. L.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you. I try to read this everyday from H.H. the Dalai Lama: “Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”

      As a lifelong Southern myself and the father of daughters I do worry at times about the “stiff upper lip” mentality we, especially women, are expected to keep in the face of dark days. Depression is not a weakness and we need to quit treating it as such.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. LeeSoyer says:

    Stopping the pain is what drive people to suicide, the thing is that pain depressed people tend to keep it to themselves and are afraid to open up…


    • Yup, I know the pain. I lived months in the darkness. But I survived because I didn’t give-up on searching for the light, the light in the eyes of my family. I was lucky to wake-up. I was lucky that someone asked for help to help me wake-up, forced me to see beyond one minute, one hour and one day.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Bless you for sharing this. I, as you know, have also wrestled with depression and suicidal thoughts, and it’s so important we TALK about it as often as we can. Everyone needs to know it doesn’t have to come to this, no matter how bad things may look.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patty says:

    So sad indeed, when again a neighbor of ours can’t find a reason to keep moving forward, even if it is second to second, step by step.
    I regularly write about this topic too and my latest message within a post about; it’s ok to be unhappy every now and then. Like you, I also feel it’s part of life. When those dark feeling last longer as you know it should last, then by all means; reach out to someone, anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

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