I was in high school. Short Story and Poetry class, to be exact. Learning about Ernest Hemingway. We were talking about heroes. Hemingway’s protagonists were men’s men. Even Papa himself. He was in the war. He hunted. He fished. Africa. Paris. Key West. Havana. And he wrote. He always wrote. At the time, I was in awe of his life.
Which is why I couldn’t understand why he would take it himself.
I still don’t.
But it wasn’t for me to understand. Studying Ernest Hemingway is my earliest recollection with suicide. I was in one of my favorite classes in all of school. I was dealing with my own shit. Bullying. Self confidence issues. That class helped save me from a road of my own self destruction, I know it. I never had thoughts of hurting myself, but know that without that class, I would have been lost for an outlet to express myself. That’s when I would have sought other means to express myself. Bad means. I just know it.
But there I was, in my own renaissance. My own rebirth. I was discovering how to save myself, and learning of others who couldn’t. Too wrapped up in my own nonsense, I never gave it much thought. I didn’t understand Hemingway’s pain.
I still don’t.
This week has been hard. Not only because two prominent people suffered from a pain most of us can’t even begin to imagine, but because they, like thousands of others each year, felt they had no other option to be free from that suffering. I don’t understand that pain, but I want to understand so I can help. Many others want to help.
I discovered poetry. Writing. I created things in my head. People. Places. Conversations. I created them as a way to escape the bullying. The self confidence issues. I created them in my head, and then I wrote them down on paper. Some of what I wrote sucks. Really. It isn’t good. Some of what I wrote is good. Some I’ve shared with others. Some of what I wrote I will never share. But it’s me. All of it. It helped me.
There is something in this world for you. Something that you love. Something that will love you in return. You may already know what it is. You may not. That’s okay. Someone will help you find it. Please. Just….call.
If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
En Español: 1-888-628-9454
Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889
Or the Crisis Text Line by texting 741741.