We push away the unimaginable

As I was driving home yesterday I was listening to “It’s Quiet Uptown” from Hamilton. First if you have never listened to the musical, this particular song is about the grief Alexander Hamilton and his wife experience after one of their sons dies. It is hauntingly beautiful.  I put the song on repeat and even drove around before going home just so I could listen to the song one more time. My heart was aching. As I listened to the words and throughout the night I focused on these phrases:

We push away what we can never understand
We push away the unimaginable

Yesterday I had the privilege to participate in a meeting with our Student Advisory Board (top leaders from all the middle and high schools). The students wanted to discuss mental health/suicide and how it impacts their age group. I heard students wise beyond their years talking about wanting to break down stigmas and openly talking about issues most never want to mention. I heard students passionately express their thoughts and wanting to make a change. I sat in awe. Here is a group of students… kids, articulating  the desire to tackle a major health issue impacting our society today and they were not hesitant and they weren’t afraid.

We push away what we can never understand
We push away the unimaginable

As I listened to these words last night (and honestly all day today), I kept thinking how they represent how we traditionally approach suicide in our society. We don’t talk about it because we don’t want to talk about what we don’t understand or imagine something so hard…. But we are at a point in our society where suicide has touched and impacted so many. Every day more and more of us understand and the suffering from losing someone is now imaginable because it has happened.

In a review  Dave Brooks writes, “It’s Quiet Uptown is a song about how death changes the people it leaves behind, about how we try to find meaning in the pain of loss and most importantly, how that pain changes us.”

The pain of my mom’s suicide changed me. I openly speak about suicide because I don’t want others to have to imagine the unimaginable and I don’t want them to have to understand the pain. Yesterday I witnessed our future willing to talk about that which they don’t understand. I witnessed bravery in those students willing to break down stigmas as they started a conversation that is long overdue in our world. I went to sleep last night and woke up this morning with a renewed sense of hope because I saw the future and it was inspiring.  

One response to “We push away the unimaginable”

  1. I love you, your passion, and that song. Part of the beauty of the song and it’s place in the musical is that by grappling with the unimaginable you can get to things like forgiveness. So much wisdom in you, those lyrics, and in the students who want to deal with the unimaginable.

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