***Trigger Warning*** This material may be triggering for many people. Please proceed with caution.
Once upon a time in the magical kingdom of Illinois there lived a lad by the name of Kevin who attended school. Kevin was brilliant, funny, creative, unique, and very well liked. One day he proclaimed that he was moving away and all of his friends threw a going away party for him in the theater at the end of the school day. All the students were watching the door with great anticipation, waiting for the moment Kevin would walk through and they could all yell “surprise!” But Kevin being Kevin, he snuck onto the stage and surprised all of his friends instead.
When I think of Kevin I think of opera cloaks and his love of “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.” I remember multiple discussions where he told my tween self to stop watching stupid stuff like “Heathers” and to start reading THGTTG. How can I vividly remember these silly little conversations from over 20 years ago? Because Kevin was one of the most vivid people I would ever meet.
I lost track of many of my friends when I moved away myself. But every now and again Kevin would walk through my mind and I would hope he was doing well. Eventually I joined Facebook and started finding my old friends once again. One evening in 2010 I was scrolling through the “people you may know” selections and Kevin’s profile popped up. I was excited to see his name and was looking forward to finding out what adventures he had been on since we last saw each other.
It was then I learned that Kevin had died by suicide just days before. He left behind a wife, a family, friends… I remember that a person wrote a comment on the online obituary that Kevin had once given him/her a copy of “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.”
I haven’t been able to watch or read anything THGTTG since that evening. Every time I would come across a reference to the series I would think of Kevin and how much pain he must have been in.
Today is Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year. It’s the Jewish New Year and happens to fall on the same day as National Suicide Prevention Day. I find this to be very symbolic as today is about new beginnings and the chance to heal and move forward. Upon seeing a reference to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” and my kids asking to watch the newest movie version, I suddenly felt very moved to post tonight in memory of Kevin. Maybe it will reach someone who is in need of encouragement and in need of a reminder that they are important and are on this planet for a reason. To remind them to give tomorrow a chance to be a better day.
I would also like to stress the importance of not ignoring any signs of suicidal behavior regardless of how old or how young, how well or maladjusted a person appears, how happy or sad. If you’re not sure of what suicidal signs are I’ve included an infographic about it.
Also, if you’re in need of resources the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is ready and willing to help: 800-273-8255.
I wish you all a happy and healthy new year.