Friday, March 29: An unusually somber day

Suicide is hard to talk about. It’s hard to acknowledge how much it hurts so many people.

We have not really seen such candid communication until Friday when teachers opened up a conversation and students were comfortable enough to feel vulnerable together. We learned things about our friends that we never knew. We’re so often afraid to share serious, tragic things about our histories.

But we also don’t want to make it about ourselves in moments like this. So we continue to keep our own struggles to ourselves. Especially at a place like Creek where there are so many of us and each of us only knows a fraction of the student body.

We were so happy to see people hugging each other in the hallway. Especially boys, who often don’t feel comfortable showing affection, were hugging each other without hesitation. However, it’s terrifying that our unity is rooted in mourning multiple deaths.

Mental illness feels like a secretive, intangible thing. Someone could seem happy, be here one day, then be gone the next day. It makes you wonder. Do we really know these people around us and what they’re going through? How many other kids at our school are feeling like this? It’s devastating to think about how painful it must be to feel that alone.

But where do we even go from here? Do we just go back to normal? Do we try to heal? Do we continue being sad? Is it possible to prevent suicide? How do we change the way an entire society thinks about suicide and mental illness?

It seems like there are things we can do to reduce the numbers, but we’re not entirely sure what those are.

Not knowing how to help is tough. Continually losing our friends to an abstract killer is the most powerful feeling of powerlessness.

This is becoming normal for us. We’re tired of suicide becoming ordinary, becoming what seems to be a valid option. It’s too easy and too accessible. And that’s incredibly scary.

The worst thing is to be forgotten. We fear that people will go back to normal and not remember those whose lives are ended. We don’t want to sanctify tragedy and keep the pain and anguish going, but at the same time, we don’t want to forget about them.

Sometimes, we become so numb and desensitized to tragedy that we won’t ever make changes to the way we do things. When is the right time for us to start thinking about how to fix this? People are drained and exhausted today, but we may be back to normal on Monday. In Buddhist culture, people try to heal themselves by completely forgiving and letting go. In this situation, we’re not sure what is best.

We’re worried that this is turning into a cycle that feels unstoppable.

We believe we are at a point where we can make a difference by channeling our heightened emotions of anger and grief into something positive.

The administration has already done so much. Sources of Strength is all about this. We disagree with those who say the school has nothing until now. We understand that some families wanted to grieve in private. Faculty and staff helped so many kids yesterday and we’re beyond thankful considering how many things they have to take into consideration.

We appreciated teachers saying directly that they know what’s happening and that they’re there for us.

Science teacher Jeff Boyce gave one of us a necklace made by a woman in Uganda who he said “didn’t have anything,” but she still made this. He wanted us to know that even when we feel like we have nothing, we can create something.

We hear about “starting the conversation” all the time, but it was different to hear all of our teachers interact with us so explicitly. It helped.

Considering all of this, the pain, the unity, the leadership, it’s time for deep reflection and tangible action.

There’s a Brazilian song that goes: “You must love people like there’s no tomorrow. Because there might not be a tomorrow.”

We shouldn’t wait for something like this before we show affection. We need to love each other like there’s no tomorrow.