Like the rest of the world, I watched with horror last week as news broke of the suicides of Steve Stephens and Aaron Hernandez. Their crimes were surely unspeakable, but one thing I found equally as unspeakable? Some of the reactions I saw on Facebook. And, you know me, friends, I’ve never been one to keep my mouth shut, especially when it comes to the topic of suicide. As is usually the case with me, I was moved to write about this very topic. The result is my latest essay for SheKnows, which gets at root of why being happy about suicide is harmful
I never thought I’d have to say this out loud to the entire world, but, apparently, I do! My essay “Celebrating Someone Else’s Suicide Is Just Plain Wrong” ran yesterday, and I’m really proud of the way it turned out. At first, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to say. I didn’t want to come off merely rambling, but I knew there were some things that needed to be said. So, I made it my mission to sit down on Monday morning and let my fingers do the talking on the keyboard. By lunchtime, I had the essay finished. By late afternoon, I had an acceptance from an editor.
Here’s an excerpt of the essay, in which I try to remind people of the plight of suicide survivors and the lifelong journey they face following this type of loss…
Because really, no one “won” anything here. People’s reactions to these recent deaths raise so many issues surrounding mental health, suicide and public perception in this country. To see someone’s death being treated so cruelly and heartlessly is simply unacceptable. It’s beyond irresponsible and reckless.
You might want to take a moment and think about how insensitive your words are. How can we look at the grieving families that suicide leaves behind and tell them that they’re better off? How can we tell them that this was for the best? How can we even tell them that they will get over this and somehow find a way to go on? How can we say all that and then face ourselves after? At the very least, what does this say about who we are and what does this say about our character?
You can read the full essay here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo