MISCHIEVOUS ME: Tragedy strikes close to home

February 25, 2010

by Kathleen Duncan

Normally my fellow Tech Talk writers would pick at me and joke about my habit of giving advice on families or kids, but this week I’d like to dedicate my column to a subject which recently touched my life–suicide.

My 29-year-old boss, a newly- wed, took his own life, leaving behind a loving family and an amazing wife. My job will never be the same. I have to go to work and face the fact that he will no longer be there to pick at me for coming in and looking grumpy. He won’t be there to make fun of my taste in movies or my uncanny ability to attract creepy people.

Carey Paul Smith II was a funny, annoyingly OCD boss who sometimes expected too much of his employees. He occasionally drove us all crazy at work, but he was a good boss and a good man. The last time I saw him he was laughing and joking and seemed generally happy. This tragic event proves to me how wrong I was.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, there were 492 suicides in 2009 in Louisiana. Four-hundred ninty two families are feeling the same thing Carey’s family is feeling right now. How many friends of those 492 people are going through what I’m experiencing right now? I wouldn’t wish this on anyone–this uncertainty and questioning. I wonder could I have done anything to stop it. Is there something I could have said to keep his from doing what he did?

The answer is no. I’ve accepted that he was determined to do what he did. I think I’ve hit the anger stage of grief. I’m angry he left his new wife behind when she loved him so much. I’m angry he felt the need to do this.

With suicide, you take yourself away from the people that love you, leaving a gaping hole in their lives. I really don’t care what kind of pain or depression you think you are going through; before you decide it is necessary to take your own life, consider who you’re leaving behind to pick up the pieces.

Consider the pain you will put the people who love you through. Consider the pain you are in and multiply it; then you will begin to understand the unending hell the people who love you will go through. There is a saying I’ve heard in church all my life: “In the end, God will make sure everything is OK. If it isn’t OK, it isn’t the end yet.”

The fact remains we as humans can handle anything life throws at us. It is a matter of deciding that you will be strong enough to live through the pain.

I feel the need to be cliché and ask anyone reading this to please not contemplate suicide, and, if you are, please seek counseling or talk to your friends. I beg everyone who reads this, please don’t think you are alone, and if you have an instinct that one of your friends is going through troubles, take them to counseling; ask them about it. It is hard to understand what kind of emotional pain someone is going through unless you’ve been in that dark hole of almost-eternal depression. Please take advantage of Tech’s free counseling services located in Keeny Hall or talk to your close friends; drag your friends if you feel they are in need of some sort help.

As a former cutter, I can tell you that your friends will care about you no matter what you tell them. Talking to a counselor will help. Asking for help may be hard and you may feel embarrassed. Lord knows I did, but it did help.

Don’t let your family and friends go through what Carey’s wife and family is going through. Don’t put anyone in that pain. Just as you can’t wish away cancer or physical scars, depression leaves an emotional scar and is more than just being in a sad mood.

Kathleen Duncan is a junior journalism major from Bastrop who serves as a news editor for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to mkd009@latech.edu.