The Depth and Breadth of Suicide

I’ve written about depression and suicide in the past, as many of you know. I’ve written based on personal experience with depression and brushes with suicidal thoughts. Hopefully, some of what I’ve written in the past has made an impact and caused you to think about the issue a little more deeply.

But for what it’s worth, my experience is shallow compared to the depth of pain and sorrow an actual suicide can bring. And when you come face-to-face with what suicide can do to those who are left behind, there’s no plumb to measure how deep the wounds will go.

This morning one of my daughters (Katie) called me on the phone, hardly understandable for the convulsive weeping. A young man with whom she went to college, a young man whom she considered to be a best friend, took his own life last night, and Katie had just received the news as she was driving to work.

The question kept repeating from her lips…”Why?”

Christopher Nitzband (photo by Katie Baker)

There were no discernible warning signs. He was loved by all. I even enjoyed talking with him over lunch last week. He was about to graduate college and had already been accepted to the graduate program at George Mason University. He had everything to live for, yet he chose not to.

Why? Indeed.

The wounds will go deep, and the pain will sink deep into the crevices of many hearts. And the many? How will we know? Already there are hundreds weeping. What other ripple effects will there be from a severed relationship and a wasted life?

I want to leave you with the words from my daughter’s Instagram post. She says it better than me.

“…It’s hard to believe I won’t see him walking around campus anymore. No more walks. No more talks. No more random trips off campus. The horizon of possibilities is gone.

I’ll see you later, bud.”

The “horizon of possibilities is gone.” That’s a wide, wide loss.

My daughter’s updated Facebook cover photo.

I’m sorry for your loss, dear Katie. I’m truly sorry.

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23 Comments

Filed under Depression, Life/Death, Struggles and Trials

23 responses to “The Depth and Breadth of Suicide

  1. Prayers for your daughter and your family and her friends family and all those who will be grieving for this young man. I pray that God will use this young man’s death for good.

    • Yes, they need our prayers. But I am thankful for the truth that endures – God’s hand is not shortened, nor has the Enemy ever done a single thing that God cannot turn into good for them who love Him and called according to His purpose. My broken-hearted consolation is the belief that this young man remains in the hand of the Lord, no matter what the reason that led up to his unwise decision end his life.

  2. It’s such an incomprehensible loss. Many people harbour feelings so desperate they are ashamed to share with close relatives or even friends for fear of appearing weak. We live in a complex world and there must be a reason behind every action. I am really sorry for your loss. My prayers to you, your daughter Katie, and every soul touched by this wonderful young man!

  3. Prayers for her those who knew him. Thanks Anthony for your insightful and compassionate words…not an easy subject…

  4. What a great tragedy and loss. So sorry to hear it. Depression and suicide are a real problem that many of us bury our heads in the sand about. I imagine it has touched all of us. On average, there are 121 suicides per day, over 40,000 a year. Horrible and so sad.

    Regarding eternity, nothing is impossible with God.

    Thanks for reminding us. Be blessed.

  5. Anonymous

    My heart is broken and I also am asking why. Christopher was a wonderful young man. Words cannot describe how empty it is now knowing he isn’t here with us anymore.

  6. Anonymous

    I appreciate the hurt you must be feeling for your daughter. However, you might consider that the family hasn’t shared details of how Christopher died. It is unbelievably difficult for those left behind when a loved one commits suicide and it is only their story to tell. It’s not about anyone else, regardless of other relationships. People deserve time to process and grieve before others take it upon themselves to share it with the world. Your post could have been written without mentioning his name or including his picture.

    • Hello, friend. This is Anthony’s daughter, Katie Marie.
      I only wish I could know your name to address you properly! Even so, I will do my best to calmly explain the situation.
      My dearest friend, Christopher, was one of those people that everyone knew; everyone loved him. I know absolutely no one who has a complaint toward him, other than the fact that he was supremely goofy and ridiculously underweight, but he was just that way. He wore bow ties almost every day, always a three-piece suit, and always a hat. He carried around with his briefcase and as he walked, there was a small hop in his every step.
      My friend, you may be well-meaning, but this happened on campus in his apartment. This affair was happened upon by another friend, a girl, and then his roommate. From there, the authorities were contacted, and the deans of students were contacted for further assistance. The reasons this was made public were, firstly, that he did it on campus. The second reason was that he was loved by everyone on campus. As stated previously, this was a person everyone knew and adored. The third reason was that his family cared deeply about his campus life and supported his every move. Due to my relationship with his family, I know for certain that it was not against the family wishes that his name was spread around like propaganda, for they would have wanted his name known.
      I appreciate your concern, but it is honestly all within the appropriate lines and boundaries, especially if he were to be honored.

  7. Anonymous

    Katie Marie, I am so sorry for your loss. The impact that this will have on your young life will be deep and long. As with so many things in life, how you choose to deal with it will greatly influence whether that impact will ultimately be positive or negative. By celebrating your memories of Christopher, I have faith you are moving in the correct direction.

    Your reply to the above is well written, and I do not doubt you have the support of the Nitzband family. I would point out that the poster you replied to has a valid point to consider. I work with one of Christopher’s immediate family members and have known his father for over ten years; however, until I saw this post, I did not know suicide was involved. I suspected, but I did not know. I had the same initial reaction to your father’s post the other commenter did.

    Suicide holds a stigma for many people. Especially older people, as their generations did not grow up with the elevated suicide rates of today’s times. I hope you NEVER have to face this issue again. If you or your father do and choose to address it openly as done here, a simple sentence or two stating you have the deceased family’s prior permission to name names is generally considered to be in good taste..

    Again, I am truly sorry for your loss, and gladly wrap my virtual arms around you to provide comfort and support. Continue to celebrate Christopher’s life and your own with every fiber of your body.

    And to anyone who reads this and ever considers suicide, please remember that suicide is a very permanent solution to temporary problems. Have faith.

    • Thank you for your considerate comment. I would like to add that, in the case of healing, I think it is wonderful, for Christopher’s family’s sake, that such an outpouring of personal loss is able to be expressed so vividly. It is so important for them to know that they have so many others sharing n their pain. The suffering is certainly not the same, but it can be a comfort when one knows they don’t suffer alone.

      • Noah Gregory

        I’m sorry, I had written a much longer comment, however it did not appear to go through so I tried a short test comment to see what would happen.

      • No problem. However, I thought it was plain from my daughter’s words that this was a suicide.

      • Noah Gregory

        Yes, You mentioned it clearly. However, I learned of this issue from a friend on Facebook and that friend did not mention that it was a suicide, nor did the memorial page on the college website, nor anyone else I saw discussing the issue. To be clear, I was not accusing you of anything. My apologies if I came across differently.

      • That’s understandable. And if the truth be told, all I’ve heard from the school and such is how great of a guy he was – and he was – but nothing about the senselessness and ugliness of suicide. We should do more than assume the fellow student body got the message; we should shout it from the highest rooftop and the lowest cemetery.

      • Noah Gregory

        I am confused as to what you are saying there. Can you please rephrase?

      • I can be confusing at times – sorry. All I was saying is that since Christopher died, all I’ve heard are the positives, the wonderful memorials, the good things about him that everybody loved, how he will be missed. What I’ve NOT heard was “This was SUICIDE!” Yes, all of us know it happened, and it was a shock, but the last thing we need to do is only focus on the loss; we need to also focus on the fact that it was PREVENTABLE. He didn’t die of cancer, or in an accident – he BELIEVED A LIE and did this to himself, bringing pain and anguish to family and friends. Not to bring attention to the cold, hard facts is to run the risk of romanticizing suicide.

      • And if this message has already been shared, but I haven’t yet heard it, I apologize.

  8. Noah Gregory

    It saddens me that the fact that this was a suicide is not being mentioned more. While sensitives should definitely be considered, I believe it is important to have honest and open talks about these issues.

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