As we grieve with the families of those killed a few days ago in Washington, DC, I've learned that a man I knew in childhood ended his own life on Tuesday. It was not an accident: he left a note.
His wife had been uncomfortable about having a gun in the house – they had several children, one quite young. But it was still there, and he used it.
Would he have changed his mind, or waited a little longer, if the methods available for self-destruction had been slower-acting – drugs, for instance – or more difficult to arrange or contemplate? Could he have been found before he died? We will never know.
I weep to think that he was in such pain. I mourn for his family and friends, for I know he did love them, and they loved him. But depression overcomes, and then devours; at some point, for some people, the hands that reach out to help are not seen, the voices crying "I love you" are not heard, and there is no light anywhere.
There is pain all around us. Some we see. Some we mismeasure. Some we don't notice at all. May God give us vision. May we help to ease one another's pain, even if only a little, and may that little somehow be enough.