After a Suicide

The awkwardness of grief tempts all of us to hide from the truth, but doing so only makes it harder to recover from the grief.
—Randy Christian

It's 10:55 on a Thursday night. Your meeting with the board is running late. Just as you're about to vote on rules for keeping the multipurpose room clean, the church secretary returns from answering the phone. There is something about her face—the tightness or the worry in her eyes—that makes you uneasy.

She hands you a note. Emergency, it says. Call your wife.

Your throat is dry as you punch the buttons on the phone in your office. When your wife answers after a single ring, her hello seems scared, forlorn, raw from crying.

Two minutes later you hang up the phone. Your hand is trembling. Your throat feels swollen. All you can do is stare at the darkened wall, swallowing again and again. You've just learned that your son, age seventeen, has been killed tonight in a car accident.

A mistake, you think at first. I saw him just a few hours ago. He can't ...

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