We hold each other. Tightly.

The other day, I was hiking with my dog and we stopped at a lake. It was perfect. Cicadas were chirping. A duck even landed right in front of us. I was thinking about Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, how Kate once said to someone that she wouldn’t get help because it did not go along with her brand. And I was reading We Are the Ants by Shaun Hutchinson. It’s a YA/Romance/Science Fiction mash-up about this kid Henry who is given the choice to save the world from ending but doesn’t want to because he’s bullied and his boyfriend killed himself months ago and everything sucks.

But there’s this boy he’s slowly falling in love with. He asks him, if you knew the world was ending and you could stop it, would you? He looks at Henry strangely, and Henry says, “‘What if I don’t give a shit about the world?’

“That would be fucking sad.’

“‘Why?’

“‘Because the world is beautiful.'”

Then my heart kinda dropped. It’s a heartbreaking book and I couldn’t finish it so I definitely don’t recommend it to anyone who has gone through similar things as I have gone through, but I loved that moment. I looked up and there was the sun glistening off of the lake water, and the ducks, and the rock. I wished that I could bottle the entire morning up so I could take it out when I felt that the world held nothing more for me.

The death of Kate and Anthony was devastating. My mom found me that night, tears streaming down my face over this person I didn’t even know, didn’t follow. And yet, I recognized so much of my struggle there and it felt like losing a brother and a sister to the darkness. I spent all day texting every person I knew who had ever mentioned suicide in those off-the-cuff remarks and Instagram stories, and spent nights worrying about my aunt, who has been showing signs of schizophrenia ever since her brother died jumping into the Mississippi during a manic episode. And I cried. Yes, I cried for celebrities I hadn’t met. I cried for things I couldn’t control. I cried for all the children like me who ended up in forced treatment because society had failed them, and I wondered if they would find the strength to heal. Whether you have flirted with the darkness, drowned in it and lived to tell the tale, or guided someone else into the light with your love, this is the moment for us to pull together and hold each other. Tightly. Don’t shut down. Don’t pull away. Be here now. You are okay.

Don’t worry, guys. You are loved. You are not forgotten. We are one big, dark, twisty, oddball family, those who fumble in the dark, and maybe you dropped the light for now, but so long as we keep marching, you live on.

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