After all the winters which have passed, I don’t remember the boy’s face as we pulled him from the ambulance — frozen forever in his high school years. I don’t remember the content of his note, or even if he chose to document his final tormented thoughts. Nor do I remember the time of day.
I only remember the boy’s father standing outside of the door, wearing a robe and whatever expedient clothing he found nearby after receiving the phone call, social appearances a non-consideration as his painful cries froze into the dry, frigid Idaho air. Mucus and tears streamed from his face like the hemorrhaging of so many dreams, and so much love, utterly destroyed.
Suicide has been described as an attempt at ultimately ending an overwhelming life complexity. As a paramedic, this has never been my observation. Suicide never ends complexity. It compounds complexity. It multiplies, and deposits the complexity onto everyone who knew and loved the deceased. It inflicts enduring scars upon children. Those who attempt suicide but instead permanently disfigure themselves only begin to learn the meaning of complexity. Suicide never ends complexity.
And so, I dedicate my first column to you: the one who is hurting now and considering suicide. No one doubts you have the power to go through with this, but — for your sake as much as for those who love you — I beg you to reconsider. No matter how overwhelming the horrors you are facing right now may appear, your family and friends do not deserve to be put through the lifelong living nightmare of your suicide. Don’t make your hurt become their hurt.
You do not deserve to die. As unattainable as the goal may seem, your situation can improve; things can get better. It will take hard work, and there are professional organizations that can help you find direction. Visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/talk-to-someone-now for a list of phone numbers, text numbers, and other contact options. Specific assistance is available to veterans, and accommodations are made for Spanish speakers and deaf people. Public safety employees, emergency services personnel, and their families may find targeted assistance at www.safecallnow.org. For emergency help, dial 911 now.
• • •
Drew Rinella is a paramedic, and the captain of operations for Boundary Ambulance Service in Bonners Ferry.