I wrote my first song when I was 14.
I still remember the first few lines of ‘Sanctuary.'
Behind the ocean
Above the trees
Beyond the horizon
Is where you’ll find me
No more laughing, no more tears
No more emotion and no more fears
The next day, I showed the lyrics to Greg Reitz, who was my best friend in high school. We were both short, surfed, and were the new kids in 9th grade, which was enough rope to bind us all the way through college, until he hit a growth spurt.
Greg read the words and asked me if I was alright.
Like, really alright.
The song seemed to suggest that I’d rather not be here, and he wanted to make sure everything was ok.
I was never suicidal, but sometimes I imagined what the world would look like if I wasn’t around. At some point in the journey, I think many of us picture who might come to our memorial service, or wonder whether that one person would regret their transgression against us if we were gone, especially when we’re drowning in that uncomfortable, unpredictable cauldron of adolescence.
But I never even remotely considered what a gun would feel like in my hand, let alone pulling the trigger.
Our friend Scott did, though, when he didn’t come out for carpool one morning, which I touched on here.
Not everyone wants to be saved. That’s the hard truth gone mostly unsaid, as we process the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. We think that if we could’ve just shown them how much they were loved and pulled them through the darkness, they’d realize the beauty of existence and their vital, necessary value to others.
For them, two daughters.
I never met Ms. Spade or Mr. Bourdain, but their beautiful, remarkable contributions to a receptive world suggest that whatever pulled them down had very little to do with something outside their skin, and very much to do with battles fought on the edge of their own internal black holes.
There's a degree of hubris in believing we know what's best for someone else.
But we can help.
A call to the prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or a visit to https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org can be the first step away from the abyss.
You can talk to someone if you’re having trouble pulling yourself out.
Or, you can ask someone if they’re alright.
Which I was, back when I wrote that song.
But I’m grateful that Greg Reitz asked.