Not just another suicide story

Not+just+another+suicide+story

Photo by Sydney Rowe

Story by Macy Maynard, culture editor

Suicide. That word grabs attention, doesn’t it? 

They broadcast the horrible stories about suicide. They interview the families and show it as a tragedy.

They talk as if the person was their best friend, when in reality they didn’t know the person existed. They post about remembrance and say how God always has a plan. They like, comment and share it. But 24 hours later the Instagram story disappears. Then they forget about it. Just like that, someone’s life is reduced to an archived Instagram story.

One thing they–those on the outside– can’t comprehend is the hole left in the family. It’s still there–empty, along with the endless questioning and pain.

They know the sad story of the suicide, but they can never see the family, the friend, or in my case, the cousins who were left behind. This isn’t another suicide story; it’s a story of my loss and the need to bring awareness to a topic that so many people are too scared to talk about because of the stigma formed by society. I’m sharing my story in the hope that it could prove a point or better yet change someone’s mind.

On Aug. 16, 2019, I lost my cousin Cameron to suicide. On Aug. 16, 2019, I turned 14. I didn’t know that a single day could impact my life in such a powerful way.

The initial shock was confusion. Why today? Why him? And why me? Experiencing the complete opposite emotions of celebrating another year of my life and realizing the loss of another person simply can’t be described, not by me at least.

Cameron and I were not super close, we were not best friends, and I’m not going to write this to say we were like brother and sister. But I will say we had a bond, an understanding of each other. His parents may have signed his name to my birthday and Christmas cards, but I always knew he cared.

It was a normal family birthday party, we smiled and laughed. It was simply normal. Cameron was only there for a while. My family and friends showered him with questions about college, what this new right of passage felt like. The excitement and future plans to look forward to. We hugged, celebrated and then he left. The typical family gathering.

The “normal” day was in a split second turned upside down, and would never go back sounds cliche.    

Losing someone to suicide–it changes lives, it breaks up families, it brings families together, it saves lives and it takes lives. Death is never a happy or easy thing to process, but losing someone to suicide is a different type of loss. It’s a never-ending circle of spiraling questions and wishing you could go back in time.

Why would someone with so much going for them take it all away?  No one knew what Cameron was going through, not his best friend, not his sister, not his parents, not his preacher and, not me. 

September is suicide prevention month, but this problem should be recognized every month. Every day efforts to save someone’s life, even if it’s just a simple act of kindness, can make a difference. 

Keep in mind that you never know what someone is going through. This mindset can start the change, it can break the stigma.

I try as much as I can in my power to make a difference in this because the pain that I felt with losing Cameron is just a small fraction of what someone contemplating taking their life is going through, what Cameron went through

Aug. 16, 2019, changed my life forever, and it will never be a normal day. But it is a day I decided to make a difference in the lives of others who may be facing suicide.

This isn’t just another suicide story, it’s a story about hope, change and spreading awareness.