I was the last person to see Lindsey alive.
We are observing National Suicide Prevention Month in order to help educate the public on the prevalence of suicide and how we as a society can recognize the signs of a person contemplating suicide. Suicide has touched all of us. We all have a story that has affected us. A member of our staff shared his in order to help others:
I was the last person to see Lindsey alive.
I went to see a show in which my friend was performing, and I ran into several more friends when I arrived. We sat together as the show started and we had a fantastic time. I left the theater feeling inspired and invigorated.
I got on a bus to head home, and as it rolled down the street, it stopped to pick up more passengers. On one of those stops, a girl got on, and I caught a look at her face. It was Lindsey, and I immediately got excited.
Lindsey and I were both involved in the same performing arts company. I always admired her skill and presence onstage, even at a young age. She had joined the company at the age of 18, but she had already built a reputation for her abilities. She was a professional, and her personality belied her age. She was subdued, almost stoic in how she held herself. She was perfectly friendly, just not the most effusive personality.
I got excited because I rarely saw her out in public, outside of rehearsal. I did not get very many chances to speak with her one on one, so I wanted to connect with her. “Lindsey! Hey, it’s Tony,” I said, “How are you?” She saw me, walked over, and sat next to me. I smiled broadly as she looked at me.
We chatted briefly. She said that she had come from a bar where she had a few drinks. I could tell that she was telling the truth because her speech was slurring slightly. This was unusual for her because I had not known her to drink often. She appeared to be in good spirits, and I was happy to see her and be able to speak with her.
We spent a few minutes together and then she got off at her stop. I continued on home. Later the next day, I was headed to the play that I was performing in at the time when I received a phone call. It was my friend Rachel. She asked me where I was. I said I’m on the street. She then told me that Lindsey was gone. She had been found that morning, alone in her apartment.
I heard the message but did not believe it. “I just saw her yesterday! She was fine,” I said. And then the tears started to come. I heard Rachel start to cry through her words, trying to comfort me. I was overcome, and had to end the call. I stood there in the street, not sure what to do. I sobbed. I thought of what might have happened. Did she go home and immediately end her life? Why did she do this? She seemed to be perfectly fine. Should I have invited her to hang out? Should I have suggested that I walk her home? What could I have done?
I stood in the street for several minutes, trying to decide what to do. Do I go to meet Rachel and the rest of our mutual friends who were gathered to comfort each other, or go to the theater to perform that night? I decided that I couldn’t let my cast down, so I went to the theater. I arrived, and I was met by a cast member who could tell that something was wrong. I told him, and then I broke down. He hugged me for what seemed like forever.
I performed that night, because being with my cast was better than being alone. It was invaluable because we banded together and they lifted me up when I didn’t think I could do so on my own. After the show, I caught up with Rachel and Lindsey’s friends so I could be there to support.
After this tragedy occurred, I learned some hard lessons.
Be there for others. We as human beings need to feel connected to others. I try to recognize when people I know seem to need extra care or just an ear to listen to their worries. I know when I have had depression or suffered some form of pain that I wanted someone to reach out to me. Your effort may help someone to seek out professional help on their own.
Know what resources exist. If you think that someone is contemplating suicide, know where they can get help. There are several organizations that are devoted to suicide prevention. Some of these include:
If you are a youth or know a youth that may be at risk for suicide, consider using our crisis hotline service. Our staff is trained to handle these types of situations.
Seek professional help. If you feel that someone you know is at high risk of committing suicide, contact a hospital, an emergency service like 911 or a mental health professional to intervene.
I miss Lindsey. She was so young. She left a large hole in the lives of others. Ever since her death, suicide prevention has become more important to me. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, a person committed suicide every 12 minutes. The number of suicides have increased in recent years. This is still a serious problem in America, so it is important that we all do our part to improve suicide prevention.