Blindsided and Shellshocked

A 6:00 this morning, before the sun was even up, I was sitting in a crowded room listening to some of the most devastating news of my life. You see, I am part of the Naval ROTC unit at my university, and typically at 0600 on Tuesdays and Thursdays we do our Physical Training. Instead of PT this morning, our whole unit gathered in a classroom to listen to an important message from our Commanding Officer. His message (paraphrased, of course) is as follows:

“Something very important has occurred this weekend. Something that has caused great emotion in me, and will definitely elicit emotion from most of you. On Saturday, Midshipman Jones* – ” When the CO gets up to speak, the room is silent out of respect. But after this statement, the silence was heavy, palpable even. In the split second before saying what happened to Jones, a million things went through my mind. Jones was in a car accident, Jones was disenrolled from the unit, Jones landed himself is prison, etc. You may be wondering why all my thoughts trended toward the negative, but that was simply because there was no other way to interpret the CO’s tone, his attitude. Something bad was coming.

“On Saturday, Midshipman Jones committed suicide.” The silence in the room was briefly interrupted by a quick, collective gasp. Emotion rolled through the room like a wave. I found my cheeks wet and my nose running. Out of those million things that went through my mind, suicide was not one of them. Not even close.

I had known Jones for three years. He and I were set to graduate and commission at the same time. We had worked together and occasionally hung out. We weren’t great friends, but we were peers, colleagues, associates. In our own way, we were family. I had always thought he was a fairly upbeat person, but I suppose no one knows what goes on in another person’s mind. Even now, hours later, I am still in shock from this news. I feel numb and empty. The CO said we need to talk with one another about it, but I don’t know what to say. I keep expecting a call from someone to say this was all a misunderstanding, that Jones will be back. But it’s not going to happen. He is not going to come back. Tomorrow, or the day after, it is going to hit me like a ton of bricks, but right now I still cannot believe it.

At the time of this posting, I have no followers. But, in the case that I eventually gain followers and that they eventually read this post, I feel compelled to include a link to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

*Name has been changed


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