Life is precious
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Life is precious. That might sound contrite, like something on a greeting card or motivational Facebook post. But there’s truth to those three little words.
My family has taught me that in the last week.
Sometimes, though, life can be the opposite of precious. It can be downright cruel. Bad things happen to good people. We face trials and tribulations that can seem to never end, like driving through a dark tunnel with no light in sight. In the last few weeks, our valley has seen that life and its not-so-precious moments can be so overwhelming, suicide is the only answer. The suicide rate in Garfield County is more than twice the national average, about 12 people a year.
In 2012, we lost 11 people to suicide.
I spoke with the Garfield County Suicide Prevention Coalition about the topic. It’s one that has been on my mind since reading the news in Aspen from my hometown in Indiana of yet another suicide in the luxury ski town. Suicide leaves so many unanswered questions and so much heartbreak. My sympathy goes out to the families.
There are really no words to ease that pain.
I hope my honesty here will bring some comfort to even one person who might be feeling suicide is the only option. Writing is my therapy, so here we go.
This isn’t going to be easy.
It’s true I have wonderful friends who surround me on many levels. They live in Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, California, and other states above, below, and in between. I love all the people I’ve friended in my 40 years. I know I can pick up a phone at any time and friends will help.
I’m just not that great at asking for it.
I have a loving family in Indiana. They have been an unbelievable support system since I was a little girl. My colleagues, as well as former co-workers, in the newspaper industry have been like family to me, too. I am forever grateful to all those who have been my biggest cheerleaders as I strive to be a humor writer and comic. I dream of someday thanking everyone as I accept my Oscar for best comedic performance.
It could happen.
As much as I dream big and stay positive about my future, I have dark moments. I hate that more than anything because I consider myself a happy-go-lucky kind of girl. With all the friends and family I can reach out to, I admit I’ve never felt as devastated as I have in the last year.
If you ask me, I probably won’t want to talk about it.
I know I should, but I can’t.
It’s too hard. Just know we all cope with loss and sadness in different ways. Mine is usually to keep my business to myself. Maybe that’s a Midwestern thing. Maybe it’s my stubborn Irish ways. I do feel it, though, and unfortunately it mostly happens when I’m alone. Being single and 40 out in Colorado probably doesn’t help much.
But there’s something about Mount Sopris that draws me in like a David Sedaris novel.
I haven’t even got to the money stuff. There are times I have no idea how I’m going to make it out of the mounting debt I have accrued. This is terribly embarrassing to admit but I want people who might feel the same to know there’s some hope. I have it. I must have it. We all need hope.
No matter what we’re experiencing.
Lately I’ve felt overwhelmed by it all. It could be the hard time my family is going through as we cope with my grandfather’s and grandmother’s illnesses. It could be my personal struggles. I blame myself for not having it together. I feel I’ve failed myself and others. I am my hardest critic, tougher than Roger Ebert. I feel a little like I’m in that tunnel.
Luckily, I can see the light.
That’s thanks to my grandfather. He is my motivation to stay strong. He is my hero. He never gives up – ever. He has taken on prostate and skin cancers, and now organizing pneumonia, like he’s a prize fighter and they are his opponents. If the doctors say he isn’t looking good, he turns it around and says, “Forget that, I want to live.”
That’s the beauty of my grandpa.
He’s 87. He wants to live. He wants to go home to his wife, who is in her own struggle with Alzheimer’s. He has so much to live for, and so much more living to do. He is spunky and funny, and one of my true loves. He has what we all need, what I need, in the hardest of times and that is hope. And he knows those three little words we should all remember, even when the tunnel seems as long as the Eisenhower.
Life is precious.
– April E. Clark wants everyone to know about the suicide prevention presentation with Jarrod Hindman today from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Carbondale Fire Department. Please attend. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The town would join Aspen and Glenwood Springs in prohibiting flavored tobacco sales and licensing retailers.