Comfort and Joy

Tis the Season - the Holidays are here!  Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas is on its way.  I was just thinking about the obsession over Black Friday and Cyber Monday and all the shopping, food, drinking, partying and everything that goes along with it, when my world got rocked by some news.  A friend of mine in his mid-twenties, sweet, smart, funny and kind, committed suicide 2 days after Thanksgiving.  It got me me thinking that now is the time of year for Comfort and Joy.  

We can get so obsessed by stress and running around that we can forget to check in with those around us who might be feeling blue.  The holidays can be a great time to reconnect with people, so instead of feeling isolated by the merriment and its pressures, turn the situation on its head and take it as an opportunity to let your friends and loved ones know that you are struggling or feeling lost.  

The worst thing about suicide is I will never know why my talented friend took his own life and part of that drives me crazy and almost makes me mad at him, but also mad at myself for not reaching out or knowing what was really going on in his head and heart.  So, always remember to treat people with kindness and know that sometimes the best gift is a kind word, an anonymous gift of charity by donating a couple of cans to a food pantry or dressing up as a Santa (or Mrs. Claus) to visit or sing carols to sick kids in a hospital.  But, don't do it because it'll make you feel good inside, do it because it certainly will do that for them.  If you feel overwhelmed or blue this holiday season, please keep this organization and phone number handy - Suicide Prevention hotline: 800-273-8255 

Matthew Barnard