Continuing on this discussion of the Susan Klebold article in O Magazine, I’d like to address a particularly poignant paragraph. To read the original for yourself, O Magazine has thoughtfully posted the entire story online.
In her article, which is aptly titled: “I Will Never Know Why,” Susan talks about her son’s suicidal thoughts that were one of the factors that led to the Columbine tragedy:
I believe that Dylan did not want to talk about his thoughts because he was ashamed of having them. He was accustomed to handling his own problems, and he perceived his inability to do so as a weakness. People considering suicide sometimes feel that the world would be better off without them, and their reasons for wanting to die make sense to them. They are too ill to see the irrationality of their thinking. I believe it frightened Dylan to encounter something he did not know how to manage, since he had always taken pride in his self-reliance. I believe he tried to push his negative thoughts away, not realizing that bringing them out in the open was a way to conquer them.
It’s important to recognize that you can never fully comprehend what another person is truly thinking. When you are the family member of someone who is struggling with mental illness, this is doubly true. People can say one thing and think another. They can say, “I’m fine. I’m over it. I was having a hard time, but I’m better now.” They can look you in the eye, and you can believe them. Heck, they may even mean it at the time. But that doesn’t prevent them from walking into the next room or waking up the next morning and starting to plan their own death.
I think any survivor of suicide can understand Susan Klebold’s sentiments. We also will never know why. The reasons will most likely never make sense to anyone else, because as Susan writes: “They are too ill to see the irrationality of their thinking.” Well said, Susan. Well said.