I Wrote A Song About Suicide: Here’s Why And How You Can See The Video

For immediate help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Watch me sing my original song, “Letters,” on Facebook. 

At first, he was a missing person. They always are.

Days later, they found his body in a patch of woods near my sister’s house. I don’t know how he did it. To be honest, I didn’t even know him, but any news of a suicide simultaneously churns my stomach and greases my mind. One so close to home? Well, that hit home.

Patrick Kegan Cochrane was a student at Michigan State University. A sophomore, I believe. Maybe a junior. He was twenty-one. He was white. He was gay. He was smart. He was depressed.

Before taking his own life, he wrote a book entitled “A Most Reasonable Death.” It is a collection of personal musings and philosophical theories that come together in a lengthy justification for suicide. It’s basically an elaborate suicide note.

He describes his intent best in the Forward:

“The intention of this book is to demonstrate that I am not crazy and that I am of sound mind and possess adequate mental competence equal to if not greater than the average person. I want to show that I am rational and reasonable in my choices even if I make mistakes and am wrong to commit suicide.”

Kegan posted his goodbye/thank you letters for the public eye on his blog. He wrote one to his mother. To Shae. To Michelle. To T.J. To Amanda. To Dad. To Amber, Ashley, Uncle Kevin, Aunt Nikki, Grandpa, Grandma, Aunt Trisha, Joe, Jessica, Reese, Tyler, Seth. Even one to the police officer who would soon find his lifeless body.

I knew I shouldn’t have read it all. But, I did. I couldn’t peel my eyes away. I felt the same somber and acute awareness of gravity pulling my body to the earth as I do right now, remembering back. My breath is shallow. My eyes are glazed over like donut holes.

And, inside of me, there is a war–two sides of my person, battling it out for clarification. Truth.

“This makes no sense!” says one side. “I don’t care how much he justified it and reasoned it, it doesn’t make sense. Never give up, right? He shouldn’t have given up!”

“But I can relate,” says the other. “A large part of it does make sense. Everything he wrote is something I could have written. I know his plea, his sorrow, his regret, his state, and I honor his bravery.”

“Bravery? Bravery would have gotten him to counseling. A doctor. Life!”

“Life. Ha. Life can be so hard. This world is merciless. It can feel like there is only one surviving option to save me from myself, and to liberate the world of my weighty existence.”

Struggling to digest it all and sort through my opposing feelings, I wrote a song–well, the song kind of just appeared like a ghost on the battleground once my two exhausted selves could no longer dispute. It is a song written for Kegan, for me, for you, for anyone who can relate to such a darkness in any capacity.

The song doesn’t necessarily land in hope. It is a raw plea. But, know this: there is hope; there is a future; there is a pathway out of your head. If you can’t find it, a mental health professional can guide you to it and through it. Just get yourself to their door. You’re not crazy. No one thinks you are. Get healthy.

Choose to side with the self that fights for life.

If anyone who knew Patrick Kegan Cochrane reads this, I pray this will be an honoring tribute to him as I strive to relate his personal story to a universal struggle. 

For immediate help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Watch me sing my original song, “Letters,” on Facebook. 


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