A high school cheerleader has opened up about the moment he learned that his boyfriend had committed suicide.
Just a few weeks before graduation, Jacob Jean was told that his long-term boyfriend, Zack, had taken his own life.
The horrific news was broken to him by a classmate, who announced the tragic event to the entire class.
“A friend asked if I heard anything. I told her no,” he told Outsports. “She announced to the classroom that my high school boyfriend had taken his life in the night.”
“Disbelief, fear, and shock began to flash through my body. This moment felt like forever.”
It happened back in 2013, when Jean was just months away from heading to university to start his degree. Instead of spending the year feeling hopeful, he stayed inside and “cried endlessly”.
“I spent my time being constantly angry and pushing those that cared about me away,” he explained. “A time where most students find happiness in graduating, graduation parties, and moving to college, I found myself depressed and in a dark space.”
Despite the circumstances, his cheerleading squad decided to try and help him through his grief.
He said: “While I was pushing people away, my teams were pulling me in. That summer, I was an athlete of both my local community program, Champion Force Athletics, and Michigan State University, where I would spend my next four years cheering for the Spartans in green and white.
“My CFA coaches and teammates showed immense compassion. They made me feel like they cared. I was comforted and constantly reminded that they were there for me. These were the people that knew me best, having spent four years practicing, travelling and competing with them.”
He added that he felt like the sport managed to give him the push he desperately needed, saying: “Four years ago I felt like I was never going to stop crying, never going to be happy, and never have a zest for life. My sport, and those in it, proved me wrong,” he added.
What a brave man.