One Year Later: Reflections on Teenage Suicide

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Trigger Warning: Mentions of Suicide

It’s been one year. One revolution around the sun. Fifty-two weeks. Three-hundred and sixty-five days. Eight thousand seven hundred and sixty hours. Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes. Thirty-one million six hundred twenty-two thousand four hundred seconds. All this time has passed and you begin to ask where the time went.  How has time passed so quickly?

March 2nd, 2017. A day that will forever pain my heart. One year ago, one of my close friends took his own life. I remember the moment I found out, and every moment after that.  I was walking outside looking for my friends, when one of them came to me and told me the news. Time stopped. I remember collapsing to the ground. Not being able to move.  There was no feeling in my legs. I was shaking. My friends and I were all crying outside the entrance of our school and to get us in a better environment, were escorted to the main office by some teachers. I remember each of our parents running in, taken aback by what had happened. Nothing was a blur. Every second of the morning was accounted for.

The weekend felt the same. It began standing in line at the wake with my parents and friends, walking to the casket and kneeling. My parents squeezing my hands and crying. And then continuing by going to the church service and the funeral the next day. His brother was a police officer, so during the procession, major roads and highways got blocked off as we drove from the church to the cemetery. An exit from the Long Island Expressway was blocked off and traffic went back for miles. I remember looking at the casket surrounded by other gravestones. The howl from his mother and her fall to the ground when the ceremony at the cemetery finished. It felt like time stopped, but in reality, it kept going.

Wasting my time was a great way to deal with the pain. I distracted myself by continuing to do homework and planning for the Model UN conference that I was hosting the following week. Nothing to do with time was my greatest enemy. Keeping myself busy was the only way I found myself able to cope.

In 2018, suicide rates are at all-time high. Approximately, 44,193 Americans commit suicide each year with men being 3.53 times more likely to. The person may have ended their life, but the lives left behind continue. And though many try to grieve by forgetting, the only way to fully grieve is by allowing yourself to feel your emotions.

I remember the months following, they were slow. We talked about him a lot. There was not a day that went by, where we didn’t say, “he would have loved this.” As time continued, he was no longer our main topic of conversation. There is still the occasional, “remember when he did this…” We have realized that our group is no longer the same without him, and our spot in town, a little treehouse built on a deserted beach would forever hold his memory. My friends and I certainly changed as time progressed, we each grew in our own special ways. We welcomed new people into our group but one of our missing parts has not and never will be filled.

I hardly remember the months leading up to now. I have been constantly busy with schoolwork, extracurriculars, all while trying to find a moment of free time. I feel like I always run out of time- but how can somebody run out of time, when time does not stop?

Time is relative. People say time can stop, but even when you die, it goes on. Time passing is inevitable. It is beyond our control, whether we like it or not. And you cannot get it back. Each moment is irreplaceable. Why do we try to waste time doing things we do not want to do? When we could rather do what makes us happy and live to be our best selves. For many, time is scary. Our lives are surrounded by being timed to the second. We have limited time for tests and limited time in each class. The amount of time we have in this life is finite.

Is the past, present and future so defined? I would argue that they are not. The only difference between the past, the present and the future is a matter of milliseconds. So, when it comes to time, what are we really dealing with? Nothing that happens can stay in the past, like we would like it to, because the harsh reality is that we are stuck with certain memories forever. Time is based upon memories. Time passes as we collect more memories to add to our individual collection.

As I was writing this, I thought that I was writing about his suicide, but it turns out that I am thinking more about the time that has passed. When we leave home, we start to look back at the past, and time begins to blur. In really hard moments, it may feel like everything around you halts. But it is all a figure of imagination. Time does not stop. The only thing that can stop is us.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides confidential, 24/7 support.

Photo courtesy of Business to Community

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