Too many tragedies
I am the father of two sons. They are 21 and 26 years old, and I worry about them every single day. Thatís part of my job as a parent.
I cannot imagine what it would feel like to lose one of my sons. I canít imagine how painful that must be.
Unfortunately, at least two families of adolescent boys in Carroll County donít have to imagine that pain. They feel it every day.
In January, a Green Forest High School student ended his own life. Just last week, a Berryville High School student did the same.
My heart goes out to those young men, and to the family and friends they left behind. I think about what it must be like for their parents, and their siblings, and their aunts and uncles and cousins and teammates and classmates. I wonder what must have been going on in their young lives to leave them so desperate and hopeless.
I donít pretend to know the solution to teen suicide ó or suicide in general, for that matter. Itís a tragedy that seems to have little regard for age, or race, or gender. or any other factor that makes any sense. At least three members of my high school graduating class of about 220 people have died by their own hand ó one just a couple of years after graduation and the other two in the last several years. I know people who have lost friends and relatives to suicide.
Again, I donít know the answers. But I do know that we have to keep trying to find them. We have to learn the warning signs. We have to be vigilant. We have to see and hear, but more than that we have to watch and listen.
If youíre reading this column and youíre struggling, please tell someone. Whether itís your counselor or your pastor or your mom or your dad or your English teacher, please let someone know what you are feeling.
If you see someone in your life who is struggling, please reach out to them. Let them know they arenít alone, that whatever situation they are facing isnít hopeless. Let them know someone cares.
Again, suicide isnít just an issue for young people, but I would like to say something specifically to those young people who might be reading this column.
First, thank you for reading this far. But more importantly, please know that your life has an impact that reaches far beyond yourself. You may feel hopeless today. You may feel as if you canít get up and face life every day. But there is someone whoís looking forward to seeing you today. There is someone who cares about you. There are sons and daughters and grandchildren who wonít even exist for a few more years, and your life means everything to them. Things can get better, and they will. Please remember that.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential support for people in distress, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. If you are struggling, or know someone who is, please call them at 1-800-273-8255.
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Scott Loftis is managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com.