Yesterday, I turned on my computer and opened my in box...there was a message from the high school. In my cynical way I thought...what did my son do now? I hesitated to click it open because it had already been quite a day...but I did and here is what it said:
I am terribly saddened to tell you that one of our students died last night. He was in the 11th grade and as of right now, we don’t have any information about funeral arrangements. I know that dealing with grief and the loss of a friend or loved one is always challenging for teens and their parents. Please know that we will have extra counselors and other support staff at our school for your child, should they need help.
It was written by the Principal to parents to inform us of what our sons and daughters got hit with when they arrived at school yesterday. I read it and my first thought was...do I know him? Is he someone who has been over my house for one of the airsoft wars? I decided that he wasn't and pushed the thought out of my head. I just felt like I didn't want to go down the "what if" line in my head at that moment. So I moved on.
The day went on and pick ups were done and extra kids were collected and dinner was fed. I had still not heard from my boy...the baseball kid that has been busy. He was supposed to meet his girlfriend and ask her to prom last night. I finally called him at dark and he was on his way to meet her...with his guitar and a song he had learned...with the intention to charm her into saying yes. I was happy that he had a plan and frankly, seemed okay. I didn't ask about his classmate...I guess I didn't want to know.
He came home and went straight to the cookies that the Queen baked.
He sat down at the kitchen table and I asked the question..."did you know him?" Tears sprang to his eyes and he said, "Mom, he was one of my airsoft buddies...we sat together in seminar." I didn't know how to respond...the moist eyes, the disbelief in his tone of voice...the sadness he was feeling. The bright, noisy kitchen was suddenly silent. He began to explain to us how he heard of his buddy's death. You could have heard a pin drop. By this time, the Queen was crying and I was on the verge. My husband walked over to him and put his arm around him, shook his head and said nothing. Finally, in my panic to find a reason, I asked "Do you know why?" to which my son responded that they didn't discuss that part of it. I could tell he was going over all the last interactions with his buddy in his head. The what if's...what if he talked to him longer, what if he said something different...what if, what if, what if. I was at a loss for words...me...because I was just wishing it was Wednesday night and yesterday had not occured yet. Then I looked at my son and said..."What can I do for you, buddy?" "Nothin', Mom.
We sat at the table in silence for a while and I began to lecture him... that there is nothing that a new day won't put a new perspective on...there is nothing worth taking your life...nothing. I thought about how I probably have never said those exact words to him, how I would hope he knew instinctively because we haven't had a whole lot of this kind of converstation...after I shut up, he said... "I know, I know, I know...the counselors at school told us, every teacher I saw yesterday told us...I know".
I finally went down "that" road in my head. It was heart breaking and unbelievable. How do we make "sure" that teens know that taking your own life is not an option...no matter how bad things seem? How do we do that? I wish there was an answer because I would be the first one to put it into practice. I'm sure there are things that are unknown and need to remain that way for this family. I honor that and I honor them. I wish there was something to make it easier, better...a time machine to change it all back. But of course, there is not.
My boy walked upstairs this morning dressed in black. A black baseball cap, black jeans, black t-shirt and jacket. I asked..."Black, huh?" "Yeah," he said..."we are all wearing it to honor our buddy." I followed him down the stairs and told him again, "Listen, dude, if you need me...if you are too sad or any of your buddies are...I'm home today, come home and let's talk...". Then I stopped him as he opened the door to go to his car and said " I love you bud...so much" and hugged his skinny teenage boy body and kissed his cheek, "I know, Mom...I know."
I hope he knows and it will be my mission to make sure he and everyone that I come into contact with knows everyday.
We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,