What kind of day has it been?

I have the luxury to spend 500 words every week making wisecracks about the SGA and the GOP and whatever acronym-friendly institution irks the hell out of the Cynic editorial staff. But there are a few times where I have to hang the gloves up and write about something that deserves nothing short of somber evaluation. I write because I like to make people laugh, but ever so often an issue arises that deserves not wit and satire, but contemplation and solemn reflection. Last week my friend from high school committed suicide. His name was Nollan Tryon and he was 21 years old. Suicide is a world of why’s and what could I have done’s; there is nothing so disempowering. You try to make sense of what cannot be rationalized. There is no solace in grieving, there is no foothold to cling to, there is no “well, at least…” — trying to find meaning is as emotionally exhausting as it is fruitless. Every day for four years he sat across from me at lunch. In middle school we would throw sharpened pencils into the cafeteria ceiling. God, that kid got me in trouble so much. The last thing I ever said to him was at our high school graduation, where I chided him for wearing a t-shirt and cargo pants under his gown, to which he replied jokingly, “You should be thankful that I’m here.” We were all thankful, Nollan. And we can’t believe you’re gone. An account of a grieving opinion columnist isn’t worth your time; I write because I fear that I am not alone. Too many of us know someone who has taken their own life. Twice last semester it happened at UVM, twice this year have local high schools been rocked by suicide. There is an invisibility to suicide —you don’t think it will ever effect you until it does, and it’s a punch in the gut. Such a taboo is attached to suicide that it is pushed into silence. The “s word” carries such a stigma that it is omitted from press releases and conversations; the casualty of nuance and politeness is that it doesn’t convey the pain that those coping with the loss of a friend or family member suffer. According to the CDC, suicide is the thirdleading cause of death for people aged 15-24. Last year in the United States, more than 4,100 young people in that age group committed suicide. I’ve wrestled with these last 400 words more than any I’ve ever written for this paper,in the hope that I can, echoing the words of Luke, give light to those who sit in darkness and it in the shadow of death. His name was Nollan Tryon and he was 21 years old.