It's been a very long week. A man I've known for almost 30 years died suddenly of a heart attack at 51. I've gotten calls from people I haven't heard from in ages, and I think they were just touching base with others who were close to him. It's hard to reconcile his energy and humor and drive with his death. My mind continues to wander back through all the memories of him over the years and it's a good sign that I find myself laughing at some of the memories. J.D. would like that. Laughter was very important to him.
The brother of another friend was killed in a plane crash last week too. I knew him slightly, but I've known his sister for 15 years at least and worked closely with her at the church for many of those years. Again, memories intrude to the point of distraction. I'd like to be able to say it's a function of my age to be losing people. That it's just a natural progression and to be expected, but that brings me to the third death of the week.
My son's fraternity big brother committed suicide this past Sunday. He hanged himself in his room at the frat house. Both the college and the national office of the fraternity seem to be doing an outstanding job of providing support and counseling for the fraternity members, and my son has been relying on his church a good bit too. I can't imagine what Austin's parents are going through, losing a child so young to suicide. It's hard enough dealing with my own. I'm so scared I won't have the right words for him when he calls, and the best I can hope for is to not make things worse.
Some weeks are worse than others for trying to be a mother.
More boys than girls commit suicide.
Suicide is the second most common cause of death for college students. (Car wrecks are first.)
Cluster suicides are common at schools.
None of this is reassuring to the mother of a 20 year old boy off at college.