Yesterday, we learned that country legend Naomi Judd’s death was ruled a suicide. This week, the JMU Softball team cancelled the rest of their season due to the suicidal death of their teammate, Lauren Bennett. These incredibly sad updates have brought me brought me back to a friend of mine named Drew.
Drew was my neighbor while I was living in Knoxville, TN back in 2005. He was incredibly intelligent…..outgoing….hilarious. But the one thing I didn’t realize or pay attention to, was that Drew was hurting. He would always call or knock on my door to hang out, and eventually I got annoyed. I didn’t mind hanging out with the guy, but it seemed constant and inconvenient.
One night, my cell phone rang and I saw that it was Drew. I rolled my eyes and hit the ignore button, and went on with my business. I tried calling back Drew for the next week, only to keep getting a voicemail.
I eventually got a call from that same familiar number, only it wasn’t Drew, it was his Brother using his cell phone.
He called to inform me that Drew had committed suicide…….and I was the last person he called before he passed away.
I was shocked, saddened, in denial and most of all, full of regret. The next night I got a phone call from Drew’s Mom. She asked me if I noticed any warning signs or if he ever talked about suicide. There were in fact signs, and all of them came to me like a sudden tidal wave. We talked for about an hour. Like most hard circumstances in life, I go to humor to escape. We laughed remembering how funny Drew was, how clean his apartment was and how anal he was at keeping it clean, and his love for The Beatles and Bob Marley.
There have been a lot of moments in my life when I think back and wonder what would have happened if I had answered my phone that night. I wish I had payed more attention to him. I wish I knew he was hurting and needed a friend. I wish I listened to him more.
So, I’m going to end this story with a phone number. It’s the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. If you are reading this right now and are contemplating suicide, please give this lifeline a chance. There you can get resources for yourself, someone else, and find stories of hope and recovery.