I hate days like today. One of our students decided to commit suicide last night. In addition, he was a graduate student in my academic department and therefore had an assistantship in one of the functional areas in my division of the university. This one hit particularly close to home.
I had met him only once or twice at larger events like orientation programs earlier this fall. But even then it was easy to tell this was a vibrant, intelligent young man. It's a tragic loss not only for my university and for this student's family, but also for the higher education field as a profession.
I don't understand why people choose to go through with suicide. Look, I'd be lying if I said that I've never considered it myself, but those were some extremely dark, horrible moments for me in the past. I just can't imagine actually following through with it, though. What would drive someone to do that?
For those of us left behind, there's a mix of emotions ranging from sadness for the young man, his partner, his family and friends, to a feeling of anger toward the person who is now dead. And then there are subsequent feelings of feeling horrible for feeling angry, and things just spiral around from there.
Personally I think it's normal to feel some anger in these situations, and certain expressions of anger can be healthy. I just hope and pray that the group of master's-degree students I advise allow themselves to feel however they want to feel in this situation and don't become too restricted by other social norms that may tell them to behave in a certain, specific manner.
Light a candle. Say a prayer. Hug your loved one. Do whatever, but consider just taking a moment and being thankful for what you have.