Spaceboy Clothing crew reflect on customer’s suicide – The News Journal
Dave Sanchez and Matty Crist have seen their fair share of graphic tee designs at their shop Spaceboy Clothing in downtown Wilmington.
But in between the Rest in Peace and Happy Birthday graphics was one that is both unexplainable and disturbing to this day.
“He came into the shop really positive and happy go lucky. He was just a cool kid,” Sanchez said of a young man, named James, who brought in a unique design a little before this past Christmas holiday.
“We started asking him about the design…he got so emotional and it wasn’t something we were used to. He just broke down and he ended up telling us he was planning on killing himself.”
The three sat and talked until after the shop closed in the evening, added Crist, who helps out at Spaceboy on his day off from manning a local guitar shop.
Crist recalls saying to him: “Life is like a lottery ticket. You don’t know what’s going to happen.” Crist gave him his number, a warm hug and said he’d be there if he needed it.
When he finally left, they knew they needed to step in and try to help.
A few days later Sanchez said they called the police and they were able to help the young man get into a treatment facility for a little bit.
Sadly it wasn’t enough. On Feb. 17, his mother contacted the shop owners to let them know James still took his life, albeit a couple weeks later than planned.
“It’s so surreal,” Crist says. “I’m still shaken up over it…You’re supposed to be burying your parents. You’re not supposed to be burying your children.”
The two deal with death all the time, Sanchez said, referencing the RIP shirts, but this was so visceral.
“In a way I’ve kind of grown numb to the subject. That situation was a little more different. We knew the whole thing was premeditated,” he said.
Crist said that James had been picked on throughout high school and never really felt like he belonged anywhere.
“Maybe if he would have just allowed us to befriend him. Maybe he might have opened up a little more….he was just so unspeakably sad,” he said.
Crist remembers going through a depressive period, himself, and how helpless he felt. James’ mother was touched that Crist and Sanchez had at least tried to help her son, and cared deeply about it.
Suicide is not something to take lightly, Crist added.
“I’m just happy considering I got out of it. These people have themselves convinced they are beyond help,” he said.
Jen Rini can be reached at (302) 324-2386 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @JenRini on Twitter.
Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
Talking about being a burden to others
Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
Sleeping too little or too much
Withdrawn or feeling isolated
Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
Having extreme mood swings
Preoccupation with death
Suddenly happier, calmer
Loss of interest in things one cares about
Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
Giving things away, such as prized possessions
Source: Suicide Awareness Voices of Education