I remember the first call I got from my wife about Jessica Starr. It was in 2012. She called to tell me that the new meteorologist on one of the local stations had been a good friend of hers from high school. They’d lost touch after high school, but reconnected on Facebook. Jessica always wanted to be a meteorologist, so how cool was it that she was doing it right back in her hometown? I remember asking my wife if Starr was her real name or if she changed it for TV. Turns out it was her real name. That’s a name meant for TV, if you ask me!
Over The Years
Over the years, it was fun to watch her on TV. She did the weather in the mornings. The TV in our work break room is usually tuned to this channel, so I saw her quite regularly. Over the years, she twice got bigger and bigger, and then was gone for several months. Yep, she had two kids. Just like our kids, it was a boy and a girl, just about two years apart. They were a bit younger than ours, but it was fun to see her family grow as ours had.
I recently noticed that she wasn’t doing the morning weather, and asked my wife a couple of weeks back if she knew where she was. Maybe she was pregnant again? Had she left the station? Nope. It turned out she was recovering from eye surgery. My wife noted that she’d had vision issues even back in high school.
The Second Call
Yesterday, my wife called me again about Jessica Starr. This time, the call was heartbreaking. Jessica had passed away. Worse yet, she had taken her own life.
The reaction across the community was pretty swift. People were heartbroken. Viewers loved her. She was bright, energetic, and bubbly. She loved talking about her husband and her kids. Her weather reports and various other reports from around the community connected.
Nobody could understand it.
The question everybody of course asked was why? How could she take her own life? What was wrong?
There was speculation that her eye surgery had gone poorly. She’d made mention on social media several weeks back that she was struggling with her recovery. While this surgery helps many, there are reports of pain or chronic side effects. Was the reason why? Was it something unrelated altogether?
Maybe we’ll find out some day. Maybe we won’t. But no reason will ever truly make sense. At least not to justify taking her life.
Jessica’s co-workers had to go on the air and break the news to viewers. To watch this is heartbreaking. Some could
barely keep it together. Others couldn’t, and broke down. You could tell how much Jessica meant to each of them. You could tell that nobody could understand. How could they?
(The station aired a nice tribute to her, and posted the video on their site. Even if you never heard of her before today, it’s still a touching video.)
You have to imagine that the family’s grief is immeasurable. I never met her, but I still got shaken with the news. The similarities in our family structures makes it hard not to feel the grief that you know they are experiencing. And will be experiencing forever.
Personally, any time I hear about a child losing a mother at such a young age, it’s a trigger. My mom passed away when I was young. Unfortunately, I have no memories of her. I ended up having a wonderful life. I was loved. Still, there’s a place in my heart that will always be for my mom that’s never going to be filled. Whenever I hear a story like this, it fills me with sadness. To know that Jessica’s kids will have that, it breaks my heart.
There’s Someone Out There
One of the questions I asked after my wife told me the news is whether she thought it was appropriate that they were talking about how she died. Should they have announced it as a suicide? Did it tarnish her memory? Was it disrespectful?
My wife gave me an entirely different perspective. By bringing the suicide part of it to the forefront, it also brings the opportunity to remind others that there is help out there. Other people are contemplating suicide right now. Maybe if they saw the story, they’d see that there is help. There are groups and organizations and people that will help anyone through this to show them a different way.
Jessica didn’t make that call. She saw whatever struggles she had as too much to handle. Her star went out much too soon. The world is a little less bright of a place today.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).