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It shouldn’t take tragedy to make change

by Artemis Lemieux

I’ve been lurking on this blog for some time but felt compelled to post today for several reasons. I hope that writing it out will clear up some of my thoughts.

Two days ago, someone at school died. I hesitate to call it a suicide, as the information has not been published yet, but regardless of the fact it was a loss to our community. I was in class when I heard the announcement and can remember vaguely stumbling through the first two periods numb to the fact. I had not known him well, but we had interacted somewhat and I would play board games with him on some days when my schedule would allow.

Someone close to me once said that a million deaths is a statistic, but a single death is a tragedy. This quote resonated with me: For the first time in my life, someone who I had seen the previous weekend was suddenly no longer living. It took time to process this fact though. The numbess finally settled into despair however, when I realized it could’ve been me.

My “name” is Artemis, but you can call me Art. It’s such a lovely name, much more pretty than  the face behind this online persona. I’ve been on and off on these forums for quite a while now as I try to find my own place in the universe. I have struggled with the same suicidal thoughts as many of the posts that I see, struggled with my self worth, and much more. On the particularly bad days I will write my suicide note, seal it, and tear it up. When said person died, I realized that it could’ve been me. In a different world, I would be the one the memorials would’ve been for. And even if I didn’t kill myself, I could have just as easily died in a car crash driving home. Life is fragile, you know?

This is a story of loss. But it is also a story of hope. I have no illusions about how our school is handled. About how students are put under the pressure of constant stress while expected to contribute to multiple clubs just to have a half-ass chance at a lifetime of student loans. But walking into my third period, I saw that our teacher had put up a poem on the board for him. A very simple and heartwarming poem. He started class and immediately burst into tears. So did I, I guess. I knew that this teacher did not like me. I didn’t care much for him either, as I was bad at his class and didn’t care much about improving in it either. But in that moment walking up to him before class to embrace him, I felt as if we were one. Tragedy smooths over petty conflicts such as those. The gesture was a small island of happiness in a day of tears and sadness.

I’ll miss the student. I hope the lessons he’s taught me about death will carry on, but I doubt they will. Life starts again and people will forget about him. I understood the kids who brushed it off and moved on. As for me, however, I’m still hurting and ashamed of the fact that I could’ve been in his shoes. I’m ashamed I didn’t take the time to be nice to him, that I focused on myself to the point of alienating others in their time of need. I can’t sleep, and when I do I get nightmares. That is why I’m in bed with my phone at 3 in the morning, crying, drinking coffee, and typing this out. I want to make his death matter; in as unselfish a way as possible, to learn a lesson or two about myself.

At heart, I don’t believe I ever was suicidal. For as long as I can remember, I have had a loving family and friends that can support me in my actions. I do believe that I am empathetic, however. I hurt when people hurt, and two days ago? Well, I was devastated. My coping strategy to make myself feel better is to help others feel better. So I’ve been doing that at school. Two days later, I’m still not okay. But that’s fine. We have a vigil for him today before school. That will help.

I want to make people feel better, and when the time comes at school, to return to normalcy. I’m here on SP to help, to tell you that I believe in you and I’ll listen to you, because your emotions are valid and that even if I can’t convince you to stay with us, I want what’s best for you. I’ll try to come at least once a week, in his memory, and to make myself feel like I’m doing something for a change. God knows I need that.

It shouldn’t take tragedy to cause change. Wish you all the best and apologies for the long post.

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4 comments

darkwillow 3/28/2019 - 10:33 am

Dear Art,

It shouldn’t take tragedy to lead to change. However, there are some lessons in life you can only learn by living through such tragedies. Im in the same situation as you. I met a girl a time ago, had talked to her for 2 days, and then she was suddenly gone. Vanished from this world. Death by suicide.

Years later, I still think of her most days. Ive been trying to write a book in her memory. I want the world to know her name. As i hate for such beautiful people to take their lives.

I think you should post more often. Thoughts, feelings, stories, anything. We’d love to listen. And my email is devinbelver@yahoo if you’d ever want to talk to someone.

-the darkest of willows

clipped-wings 3/28/2019 - 4:11 pm

Art, that is a lovely post. I’m sorry you are facing this sadness. Thank you for your words.

GoodLuck2UAll 3/28/2019 - 8:48 pm

I wish you the best.

atlasbleeding1 3/29/2019 - 2:14 am

Artemis, thank you for your post. Your writing caliber is excellent for your age and some of the truths you realize about the world do put you ahead of the curve You said:
.At heart, I don’t believe I ever was suicidal. For as long as I can remember, I have had a loving family and friends that can support me in my actions. I do believe that I am empathetic, however. I hurt when people hurt, and two days ago? Well, I was devastated. My coping strategy to make myself feel better is to help others feel better. So I’ve been doing that at school.

Yeah, it is very undervalued to be empathetic nowdays. A lot of people end up here partly because they are empathy in quite a non-empathetic world. It is nice to distract yourself by catering to others needs and also helping yourself feel better by helping others- in a way
Trust me, and if you take nothing else from my comment…let this be it: Valuing empathy because it is so rare and guarding it when things fall apart can lead to it being a sole source of self esteem and non-processing of emotion. It is a fine line to walk. I heard a lot of my past in your paragraph. We eventually feel something negative, and instead of processing it and telling ourself its ok…we distract ourself, but being alone and distracted is not enough. Everything still creeps in. So we distract ourself by helping others, and then the comradery, their thankfulness, the fact that they see vulnerable traits in you that the the narcissistic (who are not being helped) would not…this coping strategy seems ok on the surface. It can even work well for a while. In the long run though, we know deep down those emotions n

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