Fan Friday: Dedicated to Anyone Who's Lost Someone to Suicide

Our Fan Friday today is AJ Rafael, a talented young singer who has over a million views on his YouTube channel and over 29,000 followers on Twitter. He made a dedication video for anyone who's ever lost someone to suicide. We were really moved by his performance of "Left Behind" and we think you will be too. Why isn't HE on American Idol? ?

This is an issue that obviously means a lot to us. Suicide is often referred to as the selfish choice because the act itself doesn't affect the individual as much as it affects those he leaves behind.


If you are feeling depressed, there is help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK
You are not alone.

Thanks for calling attention to this cause, AJ! We're honored our song could be the vehicle for your message.


Lis said...

Thank you. I lost one of my dearest friends to suicide almost exactly three years ago. This show helped me grieve more than anything else. Watching Moritz's arc and then listening to "Left Behind" and "Those You've Known" was such a cathartic experience that I continued to go see the show night after night. I have never seen the aftermath of a suicide treated so realistically. She was 33 when she killed herself and I'm not a teenager, either, but the raw emotions, the guilt, the what-ifs, are universal to those attempting to continue living after a loved one takes her own life.

I know you meant it innocuously, but while suicide is seen as a selfish act (and there were times when I felt my friend was beyond selfish), I believe that when people are truly ready to end their lives, they see it as doing the best thing for the people around them. My friend had bipolar disorder. She left behind a husband and a 3 year old son, not to mention loving friends. Her husband later found a letter to her son in her journal telling him that she loved him so much that she thought he'd be better off without her. This is obviously a very convoluted thinking pattern, but I truly do not believe that, in those final moments, she thought she was making a selfish choice. In hindsight, it does seem selfish since we are the ones left grieving and having to live without her. The third year anniversary of her death was just last week and it was hard and painful but we are guided by her strength and are educating people about mental illness, helping those who have a mental illness to understand just how important taking their medications is and attempting to take the stigma away from people who suffer from it.

Because of her, I'm no longer afraid to tell people that I have bipolar disorder. They may be scared and turned off, but it's a truth and the fact that I've told my friends has given me a support system that prevents me from truly contemplating suicide. I honestly believe that if more people are educated about mental illness and the warning signs of someone who is considering suicide, fewer people will die. The National Institute of Mental Health is a fantastic resource for education and help. For suicide prevention information, go here http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml

P.S. Sorry for the overshare, but this is a topic near to my heart.

Pun said...

Lis, I don't think you were oversharing. I really valued your comment. Thank you for sharing your perspective and personal story. You're right that nothing will change until we're able to talk about these things without shame. I hope your experiences can help others who are dealing with the same thing.

Anonymous said...


Lis said...

Thanks, Pun. I just reread my comment and want to reiterate that I don't think suicide is EVER the right choice, but that calling it selfish may not be taking into account the person's state of mind at the time. My friend had been fighting for so long to beat the illness, to get stable. It just overpowered her. She would have LOVED the show. Every time I went, I imagined that she was there with me.

Irene from Guam said...

wow. goosebumps.
beautiful video.

p.s: thanks for sharing your story Lis. i haven't lost anyone to suicide, but i lost a loved one to natural causes, and while the impact probably isn't the same, this song still reminds me of her. and i feel the same way--like she was with me when i watched the show.

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10/06/09 - 10/11/09
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