This last weekend I went to the viewing of my school principal's 23 year old son. He had everything going for him, or so it seemed.
He was well liked. When it became apparent that he was missing that Sunday, the 16th, many people pitched in to help. Many people knew him and liked him. One of his friends was very concerned and alarmed at how long he had been gone. His father hadn't seen him since sometime Wednesday, assuming he had gone camping with friends. When his friends showed up looking for him on Sunday, his Dad became alarmed. His mother was notified that he was missing on Sunday night. (The parents have been divorced for the past year)
I feel sad that 3 days went by before things really started rolling. Before that, he wasn't missed. Friends thought he was with family. Father thought he was with friends. Mom thought he was OK. But when he was missed, there were many people who were alarmed and needed to know where he was. There were over 1200 people who participated in the search.
He was talented. The viewing had examples of his life and how talented he was. He was a master potter and could throw a paper-thin pot. There was one there. It was beautifully worked. He was a tutor in physical science. He wrote meticulous notes in his notebook. Also there. He was an avid biker. His bike and riding shoes were on display, as well as beautiful pictures of him in motion on his bike.
He had many friends. Even those who weren't in his close circles, spoke of him as a kind and gentle soul. The world was a better place with him in it. His mother spoke of him as kind, intelligent and well-loved. She was so heart-broken. It was so tragic.
When I went to the viewing, he looked so peaceful. He looked so young, vulnerable. His long eyelashes were brushing his cheeks. What kind of torment did he deal with that made him do this to himself? I shudder to think. I am heartbroken for his mother, who I am able to work with on a limited basis. We became rather unlikely friends, me being her subordinate quite far down the ladder, as I am part of the staff of the school she principals. She had compassion for my own son, who attends the school with me. He missed a year and a half of high-school, because he wouldn't go. While choosing to live with his dad, he lacks the structure and help that he got with us. But having lived with his dad for so long, he feels best in that environment. It was such a blessing to me that he ended up with me at this school. And my principal was very understanding of the situation and what he needed to quickly do in order to become successful. She called us in several times to counsel, she helped me in several situations that I needed some assistance. All this, while her own son was struggling with the question whether to live or die.
A cruel irony was that the Monday he was found, our school was beginning our H.O.P.E. week, which is Suicide Prevention Week. Needless to say, it was brought home in a brutal way. We have a fragile population at the school. It is an alternative high school, with many troubled kids from compromised backgrounds. So here we have someone's child, from what many of them would consider a privileged background, do exactly what we are trying to prevent at our school. It shows what truly a universal problem suicide is and how it cruelly strikes with no warning and no mercy.
As we continue on with our week, my thoughts and prayers go with all of the family and all of the friends of this family and my hope is that I will hold my own sons closer and be viligent in my prayers for them and be responsive to promptings to be concerned and involved in someone else's life. It just might save it.
5 years ago