“Self-inflicted gunshot wound leaves a town in mourning as a vivacious little girl leaves this earth just a little too soon.” This was the third or fourth story of suicide in recent years that has come from my home town. It left me pondering many questions. Why would she do that? How can her family cope? Why did she not know how much she was loved? Could I have said or done something, or reached out at the right time?
Not too many days later I had the following experience: Somehow as I was looking in the mirror getting ready these words entered my mind “Terrifyingly, I saw it in myself”. I was immediately drawn to the source of these comments by Jeffrey R. Holland in a speech entitled “Like a broken vessel” As I studied his words I felt many emotions. Most of all I felt I had been having a few bad days and that I should take his counsel to avoid depletion depression. After I determined to slow down a little, I felt much better.
However, in an ironic twist of fate later that day I experienced a psychic blow based on someone else’s choices that began to send me spiraling into an abyss of darkness. I felt as though I could not get out of the situation, and as hard as it is to admit, for a brief moment I began to contemplate how much easier it would be to just die.
I took every measure I could that day. I fasted, I prayed, I went to the temple, I received a priesthood blessing, and I set up an appointment to get professional help. Suddenly I was filled with empathy for my friend who had taken her life. My circumstances were not the same, but the idea of suicide was not so far fetched or unbelievable to me anymore.
What I did appreciate as I exited the temple, after a very emotional purging, was that in the parking lot I ran into a girl in my ward. When she saw me she simply said, “Hello, I love you!” It was as though I instantly could see that I was noticed in the world. My best friend from home also texted me that day to see how I was doing. He had followed a prompting without knowing it.
My boyfriend dropped off a little gift to me because he knew I had a hard day. The bishopric called to extend me a new calling – more purpose to my life. The Lord in His infinite kindness had given me many blessings to count while I was being tempest tossed.
So even though I still don’t know the answers to every question I pondered about my friend and her choice to kill herself, but I do know one thing: kindness can go a long way when someone is having a hard time. Reach out to others, let them know you see them and that they are important to you. Small and simple things can help to lift big and heavy burdens.
Ashley Dewey is extremely talented at being single. Hobbies include awkward conversations with members of the opposite sex, repelling third dates, talking to boys about their girl problems and to girls about their boy problems. In her spare time she also has a very fulfilling school life, work life, and social life. Besides being a professional single, Ashley is also a BYU graduate with a degree in linguistics (Aka word nerd). She enjoys studying other languages, particularly American Sign Language, and finds most all of them fascinating. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Ashley works most of the time and has often been accused of being a workaholic. Currently she works full time as a merchandiser and supervisor in a retail store, and part time doing social media work. On her day off she works (really it doesn't feel like work) in the Provo LDS temple. The only kind of work she finds difficulty focusing on is house work. Her favorite activities in her free time are reading, writing, creating social experiments, and spending time with great friends and family. Specific activities with those family and friends include: going to concerts, plays, dance recitals, BYU basketball and football games, and watching sports on television.