Last week, news broke that Stephen “tWitch” Boss died by suicide. As a survivor of suicide loss, each time I hear of someone else dying this way I feel a little crushed. It’s like my brain can’t process how or why this keeps happening to people.
The subsequent days filled my news feeds with things like, check on your friends – your strong ones, your happy ones – check on them all. Everyone is suddenly a mental health expert. Passing out advice on how to check in on each other and to spot the signs. Urging us to be kind to one another because we never really know what’s going on inside.
While none of that is wrong, it isn’t exactly right either. Isn’t this how we are supposed to treat each other every day? Not just when a high-profile suicide occurs.
There is so much more to suicide than meets the eye. Especially the public eye.
I had someone this week imply that Tony chose to leave our young children. I tried to remain calm as I explained it’s not like that. He loved them to his core. He was not in a ‘normal’ state of mind. He thought he was protecting us with this, not hurting us. That doesn’t make sense to you because you aren’t in that dark place. I’m not sure if she fully grasped what I was saying but she knew enough to stop pushing.
I don’t know much about tWitch’s wife and children beside the fact that they are grieving. Like me, she was a wife with 3 beautiful children, whose lives have been altered forever. She has now joined this widow and suicide club that no one wants to be a part of. My heart goes out to her that she must endure this on a much more public level than I had to.
It doesn’t matter why they died by suicide. They are gone now.
Speculating on the why’s, won’t bring them home.
Having the most fun household, won’t bring them home.
Being a loving partner, won’t bring them home.
Talking openly and honestly with each other, won’t bring them home.
Creating beautiful babies together that he loved unconditionally, won’t bring them home.
Sometimes the darkness takes over. That darkness can be likened to cancer. Some people get sick and live with it for a very long time before passing. Others are sick and are gone in the blink of an eye. No matter what, the survivors are left grieving the loss.
As survivors, we pick up the pieces as best we can. We build our lives back little by little. It is painful and hard. Occasionally, we take 2 steps forward and 3 steps back. Life doesn’t fit back together the way it did before, it can’t. But we do the best we can. We don’t need a reminder to check on our people. What others call the unimaginable, we have lived. So yes, check in on your people but not just because a celebrity died. Do it because connection is humanity.