Written by: Erin Bishop
“Someone I went to school with just killed himself.”
I called her right away. Her voice said it all. Shock. Confusion. Grief.
“Who was it?” I asked. She told me his name. It sounded familiar.
“Was he very involved at school?” I asked, trying to articulate any common warning signs.
“Yes”, she responded, listing off a few activities he was involved in. She added that he was a really funny guy and always seemed happy, and that even his best friend was stunned.
I’m not going to start sharing warning signs, teen suicide statistics, well meaning but thoughtless and cliché bumper sticker statements, or speculate how or why this poor young man ended his life. Anyone can find those statistics online and speculation doesn’t help anything.
This is where I am a mom.
As I drove home, I prayed and grieved for this boy’s mom and dad, his friends and loved ones. I imagined Facebook posts and shocked texts among his peers. As I drove by the high school he and my daughter graduated from just weeks ago I wondered if the principal had been notified yet.
And then I thanked God. “Jesus, thank you that it wasn’t one of my kids. Thank you that every day multiple times a day when this same thing happens across America and the world that this isn’t one of my kids.”
As a mom, I just can’t. I cannot fathom what his poor parents are going through, and I never want to. Oh how my heart breaks for them.
And my heart breaks for this young man. So young. So much potential. So much life ahead of him. Gone.
I sat on the couch next to my kids when I got home and said this, eyeball to eyeball and heart to heart:
“Do you know how much you are loved, and that if you EVER find yourself in what feels like a helpless situation you can ALWAYS come to me and together we will find a solution? There is ALWAYS a way out.” Both my kids nodded.
Will you please do two things?
- Please join me in praying for this young man’s loved ones
- Get eyeball to eyeball and heart to heart with your kids and other young ones in your life and talk to them about suicide? Let’s shine a bright light on this darkness and expose it and get those conversations started.
I think it’s safe to assume we have all been impacted by suicide in some way or another. It is an epidemic and by having intentional discussions with our loved ones, we very well may bring hope to the hopeless.