Post by Phebe Montalto
I hope people really take a minute out of their busy day to think about this.
Take a good look at this beautiful woman.
I never knew who she was until late last night. I heard about her passing, so I dug in a little deeper. My first thought was, why would someone so beautiful and full of life feel so despondent that it would lead to this?
Surely she had to have a TON of friends.
I mean, three years ago Cheslie Kryst won the title of Miss NC and went on to be Crowned Miss USA.
As I scrolled through her IG, I studied her face very intently in her most recent posts.
I listened to her voice in her videos. Two weeks ago, as a correspondent for EXTRA, she did an interview with Denzel Washington. They were belly laughing, full face smiling, and completely engaged with one another.
I studied her face and wondered if there were any signs that people who knew her might have missed.
Not only did she seem happy, she seemed on top of the world.
Yesterday she jumped from the 29th story of a 60 story building, leaving only a note behind. I’ve wondered what it said.
I don’t know what pain she must have been feeling that lead her to make that decision. I thought about how she made her farewell post on IG, only 30 minutes prior to her being found on that cold NYC street. I wondered what her dialogue was as she prepared for that moment.
In the end, all of those questions led me to the conclusion that we never know what those around us are suffering from, and dealing with.
I don’t think it’s necessarily mental illness that always leads to these decisions. It can be immense pain that came on all at once. It can be trying to please others, it can be a shattered heart.
Even for those with big personalities, magnetic smiles, and what looks to be a big world of opportunities.
I think the lesson is that we need to be sensitive to those around us. We need to check in with each other. We need to stop being too busy to care.
Treat others well. Extend grace and mercy. Look someone in the eye when you ask how they are doing. Look up from your phones when you’re having dinner together. When you ask someone how they are doing, ask more questions when they say “good, fine, or ok”.
Call someone. Don’t just text them. Hear their voice. Really Listen to them. Don’t hide behind words on a screen. Don’t let up if they avoid you. They might need someone to “prove” they love them, care for them, can trust them, and won’t judge them.
Be willing to get messy. Life gets messy. It’s not always as pretty as a social media post, or a beautiful picture.
Pain has become taboo. People don’t want to be burdened with it. But we HAVE to be willing to share in people’s grief sometimes to help lighten the load.
Love others. Love them well. Be kind as often as possible. Extend grace as often as necessary.
And always let people know you love them. That they matter. Don’t assume they are already hearing it. Even if they are, your voice just might be the one they needed to hear, to really believe it.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 suicidepreventionlifeline.org