The death of a friend or a loved one is always hard. That experience is made even tougher when that person decides to take their own life.
My friend and mentor, Colby Nortz, took his own life on July 23, 2014.
I first met Colby through my fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon. At first, I thought he was brash, outspoken, and just outright rude. But, as they say, don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
Colby was one of a kind. He could light up a room just by walking in and always made his presence felt. If you were ever feeling down, one of Colby’s infamous two-hour talks could inspire you to believe that you could do anything your heart desired. He would always put everyone else’s needs above his own, and was a prime example of what every human should aspire to be.
Over the year or so that I was fortunate enough to get to know Colby, and become close to him, we had many fueled debates. Colby was never one to back down, and always stood behind what he believed was right. That is what I loved most about him, and why this tragedy struck a particular chord with me.
‘What could drive someone to do such a horrific thing?’ I couldn’t stop thinking to myself when I first heard the news. I was baffled. Colby is the absolute last person that anyone could have ever foreseen succumbing to such awful circumstances.
It is coming up on the two-year anniversary of Colby’s passing, and every year I am reminded that he is not the only one who felt this way, and managed to hide it so well from all of his family, loved ones and closest friends. In recent weeks, Chenango County has had to come together as a community to try and deal with a similar tragedy.
Mental health awareness and suicide prevention will always remain topical issues in our world. What society needs to understand is that someone who seeks help is not considered weak. If anything, they are strong for wanting to face and confront their demons. If anyone ever needs help, there are people out there willing to talk to you 24/7.
The suicide helpline is 1800-273-TALK (8255).
Never let the fear of being annoying be a justification for taking your own life.
I wish that my friend was still here to reiterate this point, but I know that Colby’s memory will live on through the words of wisdom, compassion and love that he shared with all those he met and knew, be it for one minute, or 10 years. I don’t want others to have to go through the heartbreak of losing a family member, loved one or a close friend.
My advice to you is to reach out to those you think are in need, and show them that they are not alone.
Let’s hope that this worryingly increasing trend, especially among young adults, will be curbed in the near future.