My Death

Darin announced his suicide plans online, and followed through. How can I help our small town cope with his very public pain?

On a foggy morning in Maine, my wife was sleeping, and I was in the kitchen making toast and savoring the absolute freedom of having nothing specific to do. We were on vacation for our twentieth anniversary, and as I dug into the jelly jar, I was trying to decide between hiking and golfing.

Then the phone rang, odd for 6:30 on a vacation morning. Within seconds, I knew the vacation was over.

Darin had committed suicide. As my wife and I drove home to Michigan through that day and the next, the scope and impact came to us in waves, as in call after call over our cell phone, more of the unique and tragic aspects of Darin's death washed over us.

He attended our church with his family. Darin was a brand-new high school graduate, an accomplished and decorated athlete, and a young man, so it seemed, with a bright future. Like many such deaths, Darin's made no sense, and still doesn't as I write this today.

But Darin's was not like all suicides. What he did—and how he did it—forced our ...

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