Life has been so seemingly peaceful here since I came to terms with the onslaught of winter. There has been a wave of serenity hovering over me. Perhaps it was sent by some divine power to keep me sane but regardless, through all the stresses of life lately I have been able to enjoy the days here. Katie and I have been settling in and enjoying the people, we even got an invite for dinner with the Captain and his crew from the sea lift barge. (which was another throw back to Southern life) Stephen went back to Arviat to hunt and be with family and the kids are settled in at day care. I was so looking forward to this Sunday, Katie is off today and she spent most of the day playing the guitar while the kids danced and I spent some time in the garage working on a pallet wood toy chest project I have created for Brody’s room.
No matter how peaceful we had hoped today would be, we went through the motions of the day with heavy hearts and the hope of distractions. Turns out we both turned to creative outlets to divert our thoughts.
For as long as I have been in the North I have been witness to the suffering that suicide brings. I am never truly surprised when I ask the cause of someone’s passing and the answer is suicide. Over the last couple of years it has been inspiring to see many Northerners band together against the tragedy of lives lost so pointlessly. With posts all over Facebook on Suicide Prevention Day dedicated to the souls that have passed, I realized just how many of my Northern friends (and family) have been burdened by the heart break of loss.
Last night a beautiful nineteen year old girl named Tina swallowed prescription drugs that weren't hers. When she showed up at our door it took me a few seconds to realize that she was outwardly in decent shape but that physically she was in trouble. I let her into the house and sat her down on our steps, held the bag for her to vomit in and wiped her face when she finished. With the intention of getting her to the health center, as she had requested, I opened our front door and found the officers that had come to help her. She reluctantly got into the truck and that was the last time I will ever see Tina. Today, just before they could medivac her to help, she passed away.
She caused her own death but I know that even after doing such a reckless and irresponsible thing, Tina didn't want to die, she wasn't ready to die. Some of her last words to me were, ‘take me to the health center.’
Today, there were a handful of things that ran on repeat through my mind. I stood in front of the stove and cooked through my tears, with every part of my brain wondering why they couldn't save her. Thinking about how her family and friends would never hear her voice again. Questioning why she did it. If she had of thought a little bit harder about the value of her life, perhaps I would see my neighbor leave her house tomorrow morning, perhaps she wouldn't have had to regret her actions when it was already too late.
While Katie and I dined with the Captain, Tina was here playing with our babies. When we came home, my sweet son was sleeping soundly against her chest, dreaming along to the beat of her heart.
Just a short while ago she was alive with promise, with opportunity for the future and like the drop of a hat her entire life has been cut short, ended, stopped.
The ease of losing a life is horrifying. The stabbing ache of realizing, again, how fragile life is, feels unbearable. It fills me with fear for the future, for the North, for the children.
Suicide is never the answer, ever. Life is a beautiful gift, even when it hurts, there is the promise of a happier day, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next week, but there will always be light at the end of the tunnel.
If you happen to be reading this because you Google searched suicide and have been thinking that it might be your way out of a hard situation, please talk to someone you love. Please call someone; there are crisis lines that are waiting to listen, judgment free. Please message me; I will be there for you if you have no one to talk to because I believe that your life is precious. Suicide will never be the answer to your feelings of hopelessness but I think that hearing someone else’s voice and telling someone else what you are going through could help you clear your mind.
NWT Help Line
Serving Northwest Territories
Crisis 7pm-11pm (Mountain Standard Time) 7days/week: 1-800-661-0844
Yellowknife, NT X1A 2PG
Business: (867) 873-9903
Nunavuat Kamatsiaqtut Help Line
Serving Nunavut and Nunavik (Arctic Quebec)
Crisis 7pm-11pm (Eastern Standard Time) 7days/week: 1-800-265-3333
Crisis 7pm-11pm (Eastern Standard Time) 7 days/week: (867) 979-3333
P.O. Box 419, Iqaluit, NU X0A 0H0
Business: (867) 979-2742
Call Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
You are not alone