Trust me. People care.

Suicide first personally affected me when I was only 13 — when my uncle shot himself in the chest when he was in his car in a parking lot.

He left behind my cousin, who's the same age as me, and a daughter, who had just gotten married that year.

I remember that I found out what had happened before my cousin did. My aunt knew handling going to the funeral would be even harder on him than it already was if he knew. And when my cousin found out he was mad — mad that his father could leave him like that.

Last week, I went to a suicide awareness forum held at St. Joseph School in Orion Township. This forum was held in response to ten suicides within the Lake Orion School District in four years, with three of the suicides occuring in November of this year. When the speaker asked the audience, "Who has had a family member or close friend commit suicide?" almost all of the 500 attendees raised their hands. Including me.

This proved to me how common suicide really is. I feel like, in the news lately, I hear about a suicide almost daily. Just yesterday, I heard about a woman who, after a suicide attempt two years ago, successfully (probably not the right word choice) ended her life in the same spot on Saturday. The 40-year-old Berkley woman who survived a jump onto the Woodward underpass more than two years ago, died after she jumped onto the underpass again Saturday from a bridge near I-696. She reportedly had Christmas presents in her Jeep, presents she will never be able to give to those she cares about.

I'm sure the people she bought presents for would much rather have her in their lives this Christmas season than the gifts. I know the suicide rate raises during the holidays, and even if you can't afford Christmas this year, I'm sure your family and friends would understand. They would much rather have you here than have a present (that will probably be thrown in the closet and forgotten about by next year). Suicide is not a quick fix or a short nap until you can get a job or have enough money for next Christmas. Suicide is a forever missed-out chance at life. For my uncle, he missed out on meeting his two grandchildren and seeing my cousin grow into the great young man he is.

Even if you think no one cares about you, trust me, it's not true.  I know in the mind of someone who takes their own life, he or she has the skewed perception of being alone in the world or maybe feeling, "The world would be better off without me." Trust me, it's not true.

For my uncle, it wasn’t true. His death affected my aunt, his two children, my dad and his 13 brothers and sisters, all of us cousins, and, not to mention, his entire side of the family, all of his friends and employees at work. It even affected those since born who will never get the chance to meet him.

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