I’m feeling sad today about the death of Darrin Owenby, who took his own life early this morning. A former Marine, Darrin apparently suffered from PTSD. I didn’t know that, though. I didn’t know much about Darrin at all, really. Although we were in grade school and high school together, I was three years ahead of him and didn’t really know him; but as his Facebook friend I have a front row seat for today’s tragic event.
Looking at Darrin’s Facebook wall, at the sorrow and love and respect recorded there, it’s hard to fathom that someone so loved and admired would find life too hard to face. We never really know, do we, the secrets in the hearts of those around us, even those we think we know well. I am sure that Darrin’s family and his many friends are wondering if there was some sign they missed, some word they might have said that would have stopped this from happening.
I keep coming back to this: two days ago Darrin planted a field of rhubarb in Farmville (trading Farmville gifts constituted our Facebook reliationship). Today, he is dead. How does that happen? What pushes someone over the edge into such despair that death is preferable to the pain of living?
One thing I know: death is an awfully permanent solution to life’s problems. Teresa of Avila said, “Let nothing disturb thee; let nothing dismay thee; all thing pass; God never changes. Patience attains all that it strives for. He who has God finds he lacks nothing: God alone suffices.” I don’t know anything about PTSD. And I don’t know what treatment Darrin may have sought in fighting his own demons. But I wish he could have waited for this despair to pass. I am so, so sorry he lost the battle–and especially sorry for his close friends and family, who will surely suffer even while knowing that Darrin, a devoted Catholic, is at peace.
If anyone reading this is depressed to the point of contemplating ending it all, please reach out. There is help for you. Change is possible. Things almost always get better.