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My Letter to a Young Suicide

Your final suicide note is kept in a dusty box under the Christmas ornaments nobody ever uses—a Rudolph with a broken hoof, a Nativity missing Jesus, a snowman with no corn cob pipe. 

It’s in the back corner of the attic with the sympathy cards and newspaper articles announcing your death.  I don’t know the last time anybody opened up your letter—the one I’m sure you agonized over for several nights in order to get perfect.    You managed to misspell some words.  But, it’s too late to correct that, isn’t it?  As long as our family exists and any knowledge of you gets passed down, you will always be the suicidal bad speller.

I know I haven’t read your note in a decade or more.  I already memorized the way you expressed your pain in ten clichés or less.  You hit all of the usual topics—indescribable pain, insomnia, the way nobody understands or ever will understand, and how you see no other alternative but to end your life.  Blah, blah, blah—I’m sorry.  Do I seem glib? 

 You’re so young.  Not quite to your mid-twenties.  Why do you feel so unique?  I’ve known so many people in their mid-twenties who feel restless, uncertain, confused as to their identity, but you have to feel special, don’t you?  Or, your suicide wouldn’t be romantic enough.  Guess what?  Thousands of people live through your pain and somehow survive to their late twenties. 

People claim that suicide is narcissistic and selfish.  You always said that it took guts.  From this angle, it seems pathetic.  Were you hoping you could watch us all cry and wail and mourn you?  The ultimate in self-gratification?  How did that work out for you?  Can you see me now?

Not long after you killed yourself, the world changed.  If you were alive now, I’ll bet you would feel less alone.  Why were you in such a rush to leave a world that was adapting and changing and becoming more welcoming to you?  You would never know about the Internet.  You wouldn’t understand chatrooms or online dating sites or Google. 

You typed your suicide note on an Apple IIc Plus.

Someone asked me once why I would want to prevent suicide.  It’s a personal choice after all. 

 Your note is what makes me want to prevent it.  You said that you didn’t really want to do it.  You just felt you had no choice.  You felt sick and dark and alone.  Could anyone have stopped you?  It’s hard to say.  You did seem to have a date with Death that you were determined to keep.

Have you noticed how many times we’ve mentioned “you” here?  I haven’t talked about me or our parents or my own personal pain I carry each day since you killed yourself and decide to leave a clichéd note behind.  Do you see how you got your wish in the end?

No, I guess you don’t, do you?  Death isn’t what you thought it would be.  It’s dark and lonely like the pain you thought you were leaving.

 Too bad you didn’t speak to us sooner when we asked you how you were. But, thank God you left us your note—the one we keep in the back of the attic in a dusty box under the Christmas ornaments nobody uses anymore. 

6 Comment count
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Wrenching and honest. Thank

Wrenching and honest. Thank you for sharing this.

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I could not have written

I could not have written this. Jesus.

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Just one thing..

Loved this Sarah,

One thing I'll add if I may -'You didn't give us a chance to help'.

Warm regards


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I appreciate these comments very much. Leslie, I gave a nod to that when I said, "Too bad you didn’t speak to us sooner when we asked you how you were," but I will definitely consider making the idea of ignored help more explicit. Thank you for the suggestion!

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An Ace

My favorite piece that you have written. You have an ace here. I like this best, "Why were you in such a rush to leave a world that was adapting and changing and becoming more welcoming to you?" Love it.

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Too Close


I have only just stumbled upon your writing here in red room and am so pleased to have discovered it. I think I have consciously/unconsiously avoided some posts because of the content of a couple of pieces. Too close to some painful experiences of my own. I suppose I am now in a space where sharing is almost comforting.So much of this is so real to me. Thanks for expressing it as you have.

warm regards