While I was in Graduate School, I interned in the Financial Aid Office, and my boss was this young woman - she was probably only about 3 or 4 years older than me. She was nice but shy and very smart. We warmed up to each other eventually, and then became friends. In fact, one of the semesters, I was struggling financially, she gave me a scholarship!
Once I graduated, I was pursuing a job in Financial Aid, and I used her as a reference and also as a mentor/my guide - Financial Aid - it's a sucky business (glad I am not doing it anymore) and there are a lot of rules and nuances, etc... She was invaluable to me in my first and second job. I met my husband soon after, and was planning the wedding, when I asked her to be my guestbook attendant; but we lost touch and she wasn't in my wedding. Then we finally caught up with each that summer after my wedding - she looked great - she had been diagnosed with High Blood Pressure and had taken the diagnosis seriously and had lost a lot of weight! She seemed happy to me (little did I know that she was far from happy). Several months went by, and we didn't talk, when a friend from my last Financial Aid job (I QUIT - that kind of work was NOT a good fit at all!) called me at home and said, "Did you hear about ___________?" "No, what?" "She's dead." "OMG, did she have a heart attack (thinking of her high blood pressure issue)." "No, she killed herself." I was in complete shock and called my former school/office and was dumbfounded to learn the details: It turns out that she had been battling some pretty severe depression (oh, I forgot to mention - in Graduate school, I was diagnosed as clinically depressed and it got bad enough that I had to go this person and tell her what was going on and take a break from the internship - I shared my struggles and my depression issue thoroughly.). The office thought she was getting better, and in fact, one day she seemed down right cheerful (uh, oh, big warning sign for suicidal people). At lunchtime she went home "to take care of her dog." She never came back and they soon discovered she had taken a gun and shot herself in the head.
I cried and cried - cried for someone that was so intelligent and capable but had lost ALL hope - cried that she had never considered that she could talk to me because I had been there - and I had shared all of it with her - cried for the waste and the fact that I was never going to see my friend again! The funeral was packed and it was awful - not a dry eye - the parents looked devastated - funerals are bad - but this kind has got to be the worst or at least close. This funeral is not a celebration of a life - it is a mourning over loss of hope - there are so many victims when a person chooses to commit suicide! I don't usually cry at funerals except a little eyes tearing up or a sniffle but this one - there weren't enough tissues to handle it (and I was alone). At the cemetary - this is my worst memory - my boss, the Director of Financial Aid at my University, grabbed on to hug me and began to bawl - he was completely torn up over it all - and I could tell he was feeling guilty - thinking he should have known - thinking he should have done more.... I get teary just thinking about it now!
So, I battle depression still (that is how my body deals with stress) but I have NEVER lost that much hope - I have said this over and over - I would never want to kill myself, because deep deep down, I always have a little bit of hope and I am afraid that if I am dead, I might miss out on something really great!