Two suicides in six months

Earlier this year, I woke up Tuesday morning as usual. I got out of bed, dressed and went out to the kitchen for breakfast. My mom pulled me aside and brought me to a room in the back of the house to tell me something. This was obviously wrong; my routine, and hers, had been basically the same for my four years of high school, and I can’t remember her ever doing something like this.

Once we were out of my younger brother’s earshot, she began. “Yesterday we received some bad news.” (Yeah, this isn’t good.) Without inaccurately paraphrasing her, the gist of it was that a former teacher at my school had killed himself over the weekend.

I was stunned, to say the least. This teacher (ironically part of our school religion department) was a young, apparently well-off guy. He had quit earlier in the school year amid rumors of highly inappropriate conduct with students (involving alcohol, at the very least). I don’t know how true the rumors were, but they were presumably true enough. It’s hard for me to believe, though. I had never taken one of his classes, but I’d talked to him a couple times and he seemed to be a nice, happy person. I guess I was mistaken.
About a week and a half ago I got hit again. It was Friday; my dad got a phone call about a youth hockey tournament that was taking place that weekend…several people in my family played inline hockey and he was pretty involved with the hockey league. I was in the room when he got the call. The half of the conversation I could hear basically consisted of things like “oh…that’s awful…” and the like. When he got off the phone he kind of walked towards me without actually looking at me. “…Remember Chris, the guy who played on your team last year?..” (Great.) “Apparently he got mixed up with some drugs last night and…he killed himself.”

Now, Chris, I knew, had problems. When I played hockey with him last summer I knew he was involved with drugs. However, I also remember him being in rehab for it. I guess it wasn’t enough.

This guy wasn’t even as old as me - he was seventeen or sixteen when he committed suicide. He was a nice guy, though obviously screwed up. It didn’t really hit me until I saw his obituary, which one of my parents had cut out of the newspaper.
I’ve known very few people who’ve died at all, much less committed suicide. To have this happen twice in less than half a year is just surreal. It’s hard for me to imagine that I never can see these two people again. Realistically, I probably wouldn’t have seen them again after high school anyway, but at least there was the possibility. Now it just won’t happen.

I’m not looking for sympathy…I didn’t know either of these people well, and their deaths were more of a shock than anything else. They won’t leave a deep emotional scar.

But they have left an impression.