When my mom died by suicide, it was the worst thing to happen to me in a lot of ways. Obviously, it hurt and I lost a parent, and all the things that go along with it. One of the other really painful things I lost was my spark and my sense of purpose.
I was going into suicide prevention as a career. I made my decision when I was involved in a horrible car accident the night before Thanksgiving 2011 that I could have died from. I sat around thinking about what I wanted to do with my life. In a way it was strange because it always felt like deep down I knew I would always revisit suicide prevention, even in indirect ways. I realized, kind of begrudgingly, that that was the reason.
Everything seemed to be going fine in September 2013. I was in my last semester of my undergrad, and my mom seemed to be doing okay. She was on mental health meds and seeing a therapist. What she did shocked us, and I remember talking to one of my mentors about it a few weeks afterwards. I thought everything I had been working towards was over, my spark had gone out. I told him there was no way I could ever work in suicide prevention; I just wasn’t good enough.
I will never forget how he looked me directly in the eye and calmly said, “No. It’s not done yet. You still have it in you and you’ll come back to it. I can tell what your passion is. You’ll always come back to this because it’s where your heart is. I’ll give it a year max before you’re back in and fighting again.”
He was right. It wasn’t even a full year later when news broke about Robin Williams’s death. Before any details were leaked, I just knew it was suicide. While watching each detail got leaked and the ruthless media frenzy, a fire lit within me. My spark was back, and, maybe more importantly, I was back. This was who I was inside, someone who is passionate about helping others and wanting them to have futures. I re-realized that despite how devastating the deaths of Robin Williams, my mom, and everyone else who dies by suicide is, there are so many of us who still want to help and make a difference for everyone else.
Suicide is such an important cause to me. As I even said in my first ever post on this blog, I will always come back to it. Sometimes that happens with your spark. Sometimes the spark dies down so another bigger one starts and your whole life is filled with light. And sometimes, your spark was like mine, slowly growing brighter in the corner until you realize it was there all along. Just try not to force it, because once it comes, it will definitely change your life forever in the best ways possible.