Why had my most popular answer collapsed
The youngest of my three sons is called Luis. He committed suicide on a Sunday morning in mid-October. Just because. A week before his death he bought a pair of jeans and three days before he bought a new iPhone. There was no farewell letter, he just wrote a message to a friend: "You are like a brother."
When I walk through the city today, I sometimes think: Luis is walking there (name changed). Just for a moment. Then it comes back to me. Luis stays 19, forever young. But he doesn't get any of that. He's dead. Has been for three years.
For us, his death came out of nowhere. As a parent, of course, after such a suicide, you think: What did we do wrong? We must have done something wrong. I went back to babyhood. But there is nothing. Just before graduating from high school, he suddenly wanted to quit school. Why, he never really said that. I suspect he was afraid he wouldn't pass and everyone would make fun of it. First we said: "Three months before graduation, that's crazy." But he didn't want to. "Well, then you just wait a year," I said. "Or you do something else." It wasn't that important to me, but everyone in his clique had high school diplomas. He stayed at home for six weeks.
Then he went to a therapist for five hours and changed his mind. He did the Abitur after all. With 2.6. Not so bad for not being at school for so long, I thought at the time. Half a year later he was dead.
Of course we were worried about the school back then. As a parent, you always worry. An accident, an illness, so many things can happen. But suicide? Luis was healthy. He never took medication or went to a psychiatric ward. He wasn't withdrawn, not a loner. On the contrary: he had many friends. He was happy and sad like any boy. Sure, he also had problems, school, lovesickness, everyday worries. But that's not why someone kills himself?
"He was sober. He knew what he was doing"
Shortly after graduating from high school, he met his girlfriend, his first great love. He was with her on Lake Garda in the summer, then the relationship broke up. Anyone who's been lovesick knows how painful it can be. But he also knows that it will pass. Luis didn't know. A few days after his death we met with his friends and talked about what happened that last night. You were in a pub. The girlfriend was there too, they argued, then it was over for good. At first I thought he drank too much. But it was only 0.8 per mille. The blood test didn't show anything either, no drugs. He knew what he was doing.
It wasn't just lovesickness, of course. It was also scared. Fear of life, of the future. We later learned from his friends that he was worried. He didn't know what to study. He wanted to make a lot of money with little effort. But that's not that easy either. He was in a clique that was a lot about money and cars, about the fact that you can sometimes pay a bottle for a few hundred euros in the club. Of course he didn't. Most of all he wanted to become a professional footballer, but he overestimated himself there. He played football well, but it didn't work out. That was the first damper.
In my youth, what counted was who looked best, who achieved what. A lot of his friends were about what papa is. Doctor, factory owner or even better: a celebrity. How many cars he has, how many houses and where. My wife also has a house in a posh area. I am a bus driver. Or was it. I haven't worked for two years.
The first year after that was a disaster. It was bad at first, then worse, and then it got really bad. "I'm going to die miserably," I said to my mother. "It can't go on like this," she replied, "you must finally find your peace with Luis." At first I didn't understand what she meant. Then I got it. I have to forgive Luis. I was really upset that he took his own life. At first I was ashamed of it; Later in the self-help group I learned that many parents feel the same way. I had the feeling that Luis didn't care about anything. He didn't think of anyone anymore, not his parents, not his brothers. He left a heap of rubble, messed up his life and mine too. For us, the world collapsed back then. For the whole family.
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