DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional nor an expert regarding suicide. If you are having suicidal thoughts please call the helpline at 1-800-273-8255.
The sky wasn’t very pretty today. Even at 2 in the afternoon the sun had not yet made an appearance in the sky. Those clouds though….so big and fluffy and so distinct that one cannot help feeling small. Clouds like these let me see the world more clearly. They let me know that this world is so much bigger than myself. I can see so much in these clouds, but mostly I can see Mitch.
In 2010 I started working at Bed Bath & Beyond. One of the first people to extend their friendship towards me was Mitch. He was a heavyset guy with hipster glasses and skinny jeans. He was so great at his sales job because he could make anyone feel comfortable and made everyone laugh. We spent time together outside of work maybe a total of three times in the 2 years we worked together, but I still considered him to be one of my dear friends.
After that time we became exclusively Facebook friends. Most of Mitch’s posts were angry. He had a lot of medical issues which caused him great stress physically and financially. He also had two children, whom he loved very dearly, and two baby mommas who caused him a lot of grief. I always showed my support by “liking” his statuses and commenting emojis. Never in a million years would I have guessed that all of these sad/angry posts were any more than venting. Looking back now I realize that 95% of his statuses in that time were unhappy ones. This should have been a red flag. I should have reached out as more than a Facebook friend. I never would have thought Mitch, the funny man, was depressed.
One day Mitch, an atheist, posted a status sparking a religious argument. He was open to listening to different opinions. I saw this as a chance to really reach out to Mitch. I sent him several Facebook messages explaining different aspects of my Catholic faith, most importantly that God loves him. Personally, I see God’s love most clearly through my own love of my children. Even when they do something wrong, my love for them is there. In fact, I often feel my love intensified when my son has done something wrong because I feel so much sorrow that he has not chosen to do the right thing. That is God’s love for us….but times a million. I really thought this would strike a chord with Mitch and open the floor for more discussion, but he accepted my input and closed the door for conversation.
How badly I wish Mitch could have known God’s love here on this Earth. If only I had been a better friend to him, maybe I could have helped him. In June 2016, after a particularly difficult illness, Mitch took his own life. It breaks my heart to see how many people truly loved him and how he hurt them so; it is so hard to realize that he didn’t feel that love. I think about him often, as do many of his friends. They still post memories to his Facebook page. They still look up at the sky and wonder why. I’m praying for you Mitchell. I’m praying that you find God’s love. And I’m praying that you help me show it to others on your behalf.