No matter how much education, training, or preparation you receive, you can never fully be ready to handle responding to a suicide. You can never fully prepare to administer first aid. You can never be ready to see a lifeless body, on the ground, with a bullet hole in it’s chest and blood all over. It doesn’t matter, you simply can’t prepare for a tragedy of this magnitude.
I have known from that moment, that I wasn’t ready. I knew from the minute I answered my phone, heard Kristin’s shaky voice, and started sprinting across campus, that I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to see, what I was about to do, what I would end up feeling. I didn’t think. I just acted.
I have said this for months. “I couldn’t have possibly been prepared to handle something like this”. But it wasn’t until I heard Matt Maeson’s new song, Nelsonwood Lane, and heard him speak the words “I was never shown a way to handle this”, that I understood the gravity of what I’ve been feeling about my lack of preparedness and support for so many months.
The truth is I wasn’t shown a way to handle this. I wasn’t shown a way to handle being a first responder. I wasn’t shown a way to handle trauma. I wasn’t shown a way to handle depression. I wasn’t shown a way to handle PTSD. I wasn’t shown a way to handle grief. I wasn’t shown a way to handle the heaviness and reality of loss. I was never shown a way to handle any of this, and that’s why I feel so confused, hurt, lost, stuck.
The truth is I wasn’t shown a way to handle talking about the experiences that hurt the most. I was never shown a way to handle a lack of love and support when I needed it the most. I was never shown a way to handle losing the person I was before I experienced such trauma. Maybe that’s the worst part.
Losing myself and never being shown a way to love myself through it has been devastating and heartbreaking. I’m learning to handle all of this, but it’s taken a few stumbles and setbacks.
I’ve never been shown a way to handle this, so I’m committing to showing others the realest version of me, the most vulnerable version of myself, and how to handle the hardest things that life throws my way. I’m doing this by sharing my story and creating spaces for others to do the same.