On this bluish-gray Wednesday, I am in the middle of what is a busy week for all of here at the Banner.
I have just finished covering an interesting story about the deconstruction of the old "Jones Property" near the Prindle Institute. As a reporter and local resident first and a Wabash graduate second in my everyday work, I am extremely impressed with the collaborative work that has been going on there. To me, it's a positive synthesis of the town and gown between DePauw and Greencastle.
Tomorrow afternoon, I will be fortunate to take a ride on a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor passenger plane. I'm hoping to get some awesome pictures from that. Later in the evening, the Banner Graphic will celebrate 10 individuals who have made a difference here at home.
After all of this, I will be going to Wabash's Homecoming game this Saturday. And I will be doing so with excitement, as well as some caution.
The College is still reconciling with a student's recent death by suicide a little over two weeks ago. What has come to even more light is that his is the second such death in two years.
I am weary of what the mood will be on campus when I go back. His death is still very much on the mind of people connected to Wabash. I have been told hardly anything about what happened as an alumnus, and that has stuck with me with all of the rhetoric I've seen about being honest and helping each other.
This is from my personal viewpoint. In no way am I suggesting that others on and off campus have not been trying to take the initiative. Indeed, others closest to him have done so.
A cynic might ask me, "Why are you going back after this?"
I'm going back because it still shows me something that I can still believe in at Wabash.
When I go back Saturday, I will greet my friends and professors the same way as I will greet anyone else who is genuine enough to extend a hand, or maybe share a hug. What it will mean to go back is to come together and get back to where we left off.
I did not originally mean for this blog post to concern so much about Wabash, but Homecoming 2018 is a background for something much more important. Something I think Wabash as a whole, and our communities in general, need to improve upon. That something is being honest and keeping people close.
I will echo the sentiments of one Wabash student who I think got to the point when it comes to communicating with someone who may be suicidal. Don't just put on Facebook that you will be there for someone, and that there is a hotline that person can call.
Confront them and tell them that it's okay to talk about what's going on. Make the time to actually discuss how to overcome those feelings. It may help them shove that weight off of their shoulders.
I myself am working on how to do this better, and that's okay.