Too Many Children Dying (Carry on Tuesday:The best is yet to come)

English: The Circle of Life. Ceiling fresco in...

English: The Circle of Life. Ceiling fresco in the main hall of the Natural History Museum, Vienna. Deutsch: Der Kreislauf des Lebens. Deckenfresko im Hauptgebäude des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Age doesn’t matter, they are the sons and daughters of people whose names I know. They live in my town, three of these precious children have died in the last year. As I have said many times before, no parent should have to bury their child. It isn’t right, it isn’t fair, it’s unnatural. Worst of all when they choose to end their lives on purpose, how can you deal with that, how to go on?

The parents have all tried to do the right thing. Their children have gone to numerous programs, counseling, tough love, nurturing love, medication, psychiatrists, psychologists, special programs, rehab, AA,  etc. but they have fallen again and again from some unknown evil and ill part inside them that they cannot control.

Who is to blame? No one, I imagine. I’m sure that most parents will do whatever it takes to help them. I have a friend, however, who has done so much for so long, he cannot do anything anymore for his eighteen year old son. Sometimes there is a limit for the parents too. This boy has been through every program imaginable and yet he still wants to destroy things, set houses on fire, do dangerous drugs, put his own life at risk. He too, will be a statistic one day, he does not want anyone to stop him, he has made that clear. It’s like watching a black and white movie in slow motion, backwards. Violence will be involved in some way, I fear. It will not have a happy ending.

Are the adolescents to blame? They are almost adults, around the ages of seventeen to eighteen. Do we blame them for going back to lives filled with “the wrong crowd” drugs, alcohol, mischief? Yes, but we blame ourselves too…We should have done this or that but truly we did everything, heard everything that they allowed us to see. They have crossed the line many times before, how do you know which will be the last phone call, the last time you see them?

The last call you get from the police, the one that makes you bend forward and grasp your knees and fall to the floor, sobbing hysterically. Yes, that kind of crying. That kind of misery, pain, sadness that saws your limbs in half one by one, slowly. You only know how it feels if you have been through it. A friend of mine committed suicide in junior high, I heard about it on the school bus. I remember it vividly.

Don’t you see? The best is yet to come.  Any other day will be better than this one. Take my hand, take anybody’s hand and hold on, one finger touching lightly like a butterfly’s kiss or a strong handshake whose strength will never let you get away. Let’s start like that. You will always have one friend that is on your side.

If you are even considering taking your life step back. Step back now. We stand here as broken people, parents, family, friends who will never be whole again because others before you gave up or thought they couldn’t do better or thought falsely that nobody cared.  It’s a lie, all of it. We ALL care, even if we don’t know you, even if we have not met, we care enough to think about you and your family we know that your life is worth living. The best is yet to be, there is promise in the world, there is hope that tomorrow will be better. It couldn’t be worse, right? Please don’t quit today, call a friend, hug your dog, take a walk, tell your mom you’re scared, I’m sure she is twice as scared as you are. Try to hang on, NO, promise. Just do that much. To me, it would mean the world.

Standing at the crossroads (Carry on Tuesday)

Egretta sacra

Egretta sacra (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The counselors in group say that everyone has a choice. They tell us that every single day. I think they are wrong. The therapists are like old, cranky parrots on repeat play telling us things about how drugs are bad and they can help people with depression or any mental health disorder but I don’t listen that much, I pretend to listen. We sit on a multicolored carpet which is dirty with potato chip crumbs and cigarette butts and empty Diet Coke cans in the corners next to the gray, rubber trash cans.

I sit inside my room, after lunch for “reading and rest” looking at the pale green walls. I come out only for food, meds, eat, group, private therapy or to play solitaire 50. There is one night nurse that I know and she comes on shift at ten pm. She lets me play cards by myself every night for 25 (half of 50) minutes.  Fifty is MY number. The number on my room says it is #3 but it is really #50.  My cards  always add up to fifty.  Nurse Kelly lets me play solitaire because I earned that privilege for my positive behavior. I know.

When I first got here a long time ago, another “inmate” told me I was in the silent mattress room for two days. I had to go in because they said I punched an aide but I didn’t. I’m sure. They must have made that up. I do not remember a lot of things now. I used to have anger “issues” but now when I feel angry I sit in my room, alone. Sometimes I crouch in a corner, words  popping up into my head like popcorn or toast from the toaster. I say stuff out loud, QUIETLY,  like “animals” or “sailboats” or “nuclear weapons suck, but I don’t scream it out loud. I want to but I don’t. I force myself not to. Plus, the medications make my mouth dry and fuzzy so it’s hard to talk. It’s part of my plan. I smile a lot that’s why Nurse Kelly likes me best. I have learned not to tell these things to any of the nurses or doctors or even my friend, Melissa. That’s how smart I have become here. I don’t tell them about the zombies and the power inside me either. That’s my secret.

I am standing at the crosswords of my life, do I let the zombies win or do I win?  I want power.  I hate it when they have the power, sometimes they try to scare me but I know I have the power and it is getting stronger.The voices in my head are getting louder, I put my hands over my ears. I  fold myself into the blanket and rock. The enemy laughs at me, they think they have won, they don’t know anything.  I spit up yellow bile, it lands on the floor. I feel angry but I tell myself ‘NOT YET, NOT YET. Tonight, after dinner and after I play solitaire 50. I have to be extra careful tonight.  For the past three weeks I have asked Nurse Kelly if she could come with me to the bathroom while smiling at her. She used to come with me but after one week she stopped (which I knew that she would) and she says “she trusts me.”

It’s time, the exact time I always have to go to the bathroom and I ask Nurse Kelly if she will come with me to the bathroom. She just smiles and waves her hand and smiles. I have to be extra fast tonight because I am carrying my secret wrapped up in three tissues. I wanted to have fifty tissues but I didn’t need to because 3=50. I whisper to the zombies under my breath.”Not for long motherfuckers.” I want to run to the bathroom but I don’t, I walk normally. I lock the stall. I take the special sharp secret from my pocket that I quickly peel away from the 3/50 tissues. It is shiny, silver, metallic, hard.  I put the secret present to my wrist and I quickly stab it in, over and over again. ” I WIN” I say out loud. I cut up and down my wrists and across them.  I see the blood coming out and I keep slashing until I can’t any more and then I don’t remember anything. Maybe we do all have choices, this was mine. Looking back, maybe I screwed up. I kinda feel bad for my parents. Nurse Kelly found me in the bathroom stall, dead at 10:50 pm.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Suicide Prevention Crisis

www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255): Suicide hotline, 24/7 free and confidential, nationwide network of crisis centers.

Life 101

PEACE!

PEACE! (Photo credit: Snapies ~ hiatus!)

Norman Rockwell Mosaic  "The Golden Rule&...

In my fantasy career, I’ve always wanted to teach a class, much like Jerry Seinfeld’s old show, a class about nothing yet everything. It would start with young children, kindergarten or nursery school age so they learn, at an early age, what is right and what is wrong. Maybe there would be a corresponding class for parents as well. It would be a class about life, a place where kids could ask any questions they had; it would be a safe place, teaching children about valuing differences, good vs bad behavior, being kind to one another, volunteering and diversity. That’s the agenda. If you start talking about love and different families early on maybe there wouldn’t be such horrible numbers of teen suicide and bullying. You also need to talk about all kind of different people, that each person is equal and should be treated with kindness and respect.

I expect naysayers and scoffing but the truth of the matter is, that life as we know it, is not going very well at all right now and hasn’t been for a long time.  We can’t say it won’t work if we don’t try it. Teach them that children and parents are all different so respect them equally and that families come in different varieties, they are families just like your own. Love is love. Our goal is that no one will know the word “bullying” anymore.

Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s we were pretty much sheltered from the “real world.” I remember having drills where we would hide under our desks because of the Cuban Missile Crisis but no one ever explained it to us. The world has changed, technology has changed, violent killing games are readily available for kids to play, violence on television, it’s everywhere.The world we live in now is a scary place: devastating losses, natural disasters, friends and loved ones dying of cancer and heart disease and many other things, people with psychiatric disorders that go untreated. We saw that on Friday with the mass murder of children and adults in Newtown, Connectict’s Elementary School.  I used to try to shove the thoughts away and put them on the back burner. We, as a nation, can no longer put these issues on the back burner. Things need to change NOW.

I wrote this article months ago but never published it. After Friday’s shooting in Newtown, Ct. of little children, babies really, and staff, I’m even more convinced that a program of this kind needs to be started as early in a child’s life as possible. There will always be children who have special needs or need psychiatric help, there is nothing wrong with that. However, these children need to be diagnosed and treated and cared for responsibly. I don’t respect the press when they declare the shooter had Asperger’s to explain the motivation.That is NOT okay and isn’t true at all. I think they are terribly WRONG and irresponsible. Do we need stricter gun laws? Yes. We also need, more and better mental health facilities that people can go to get the help they need. There is no shame, there shouldn’t be.

Parents, teachers and therapists need to be involved in the care of your child. Everyone should work together to give your child the best help available. I know it takes time and I know it takes money but this is not something we can “think about.” This should start right now. For the students: if you have problems, please involve your parents or the school counselors and get the help you need as soon as you can. If the therapist is a wrong match for you, find one that you like. It’s important. Talk about your problems; we will listen.We will be your support system. We will be there. We DON’T want to let you down but you need to communicate with us so we can help you. Please try and know that we will too.