Chicago has been experiencing a bizarre yet beautiful early spring over the past few days and before that a blessedly mild winter. In spite of nature’s kindness, though, things have felt dark. The Chicago queer community lost a beautiful spirit this week to suicide. Just last month, a good friend’s boyfriend took his own life. My heart is heavy with these losses, not simply because of the hole they leave in their communities and families but because I know that dark place, that hand that pulls you under. I know how hard it is to break free from its grip. I’ve been there. Sometimes I’m still there. Ultimately, I’m among the lucky ones who had the ability and the support system to fight my way back. It’s heartbreaking that these two young people did not have that chance.
If you know someone who is suffering, please don’t let them do it silently. Don’t wait until it’s too late to celebrate their life. Boost them up while they’re still around. Tell them they matter. Offer your support. Reach out to them and help them find the resources they need to survive. Make it known how important they are to you. I’m not saying that will turn the tide. It’s never that simple. But you owe it to them to not stay quiet. We owe it to each other.