I have been so moved by and grateful for the "It Gets Better" campaign started by Dan Savage and his husband, Terry Miller. I hope it will give countless LGBT young people the strength to get through profoundly difficult times. I wore purple on Wednesday to memorialize the young men who have recently killed themselves and support the end of anti-gay bullying; I wear a lot of purple anyway, but on that day--which was also Michael's birthday (interesting that three of the most important guys in my life have October birthdays! Happy birthday, sweetie!)--it felt especially meaningful. I was purple as Violet Beauregarde, all the way down to my skivvies. I felt as if I was wearing it to memorialize my mom, as well as the young men. I felt as if I was wearing it for everyone whose lives have been touched by suicide.
I wore purple again today--it didn't have any significance when I first got dressed, but now it feels appropriate. I found out today that a friend's father killed himself last night; earlier in the week, I learned a friend from college took his own life. My heart is aching for the families of both men, for the shock and grief and complicated emotions they are suddenly forced to face. I wish I could tell them it gets better--because it does, but then it gets worse again, and back and forth, and nothing is ever quite the same. Maybe a campaign for those who have lost loved ones to suicide could be called something like "It sucks". I think it's important to acknowledge how much it sucks, because it's not spoken about enough. It sucks big time. But you'll get through it. And you'll learn, and you'll grow even though you'll fall apart from time to time. And there will be people to support you, whether they're wearing purple or not. That's one of the biggest gifts I've received through the chaos of my mom's death--the support that's come from sometimes unexpected places. I hope that's what those touched by these recent suicides will find--steady arms to help guide them across newly unstable ground. I am reaching mine out now.