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Brisketexan

A memorial for a boy

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That’s how I spent my Saturday afternoon.

 18 years old.  College freshman.  One of my daughter’s high school classmates.  This was the SECOND of her classmates to take his/her own life.  Telling her over Facetime from almost 2,000 miles away when we got the news…not being to hold her as she cried in anguish….that sucked.

 The church was full.  People from his parents’ generation.  People – kids, really – from his generation.  Their presence killed me.  They were regular, odd, unique, some with green hair, some dressed perfectly for church.  So many of these were the "different" kids -- the artists, who feel so deeply.  The unusual, who don't fit into convention.   And so many of them just wracked with sobs and grief.  At every quiet moment, cries both soft and strong echoed off the walls.  So many of them who were just like him.  So many who are loved and supported, but don’t always feel it in the moment.

 I sat next to my son, who is having his own struggles with being that age, and how to feel, and being overwhelmed and depressed, and the stark terror of being a parent sat in my bones.  I just want to keep him alive.

 I can’t tell you how sad it all felt.  How sad I felt.  How discouraging it was, to have lost a light.  How helpless it makes us all feel.

 The moment – the communal moment of grief, of shared love for one who was lost, and of love for one another, whether we knew each other before or not – was powerful, and important.

 All we really have is each other.  Please, love each other.  Be kind.  Those are active verbs.  There are 100 moments in a day when we can choose apathy or even callousness/cruelty over kindness.  Choose kindness.  Some of the most profound moments in my life are moments when someone showed me kindness when I most needed it.  I know I’m not alone in that respect.

 Be kind.  Please.  It matters.

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It’s something that you will remember forever too. It’s horrible and a helpless feeling. Hate that y’all are going through it. Definitely let the people you love know daily and show them.

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11 minutes ago, Jkwellborn said:

It’s something that you will remember forever too. It’s horrible and a helpless feeling. Hate that y’all are going through it. Definitely let the people you love know daily and show them.

Well, to be crystal clear -- the only thing about "me" here is my experience.  The people really going through it are those closest to him -- his wonderful, kind, and good parents, his family, and the friends and peers who loved him and thought so much of him.  

I hope that my kids don't forget it.  That they don't forget the pain that's left behind.

And I hope that everyone else there doesn't forget it.  All we are called to do -- I mean, it's like the only thing we're truly called to do -- is to love.  Kindness shown to a family member, a friend, even a stranger....it's our highest and maybe only purpose.  And we fight it all the time.  We indulge in our selfish world view, our "I can do it alone" myth, all of that crap.  We can't.  We need each other.  We need each other so much.  And to be able to fulfill that need is such a great, and usually easy thing to do.  

Need some Austin wisdom on that?

"You see, we are here, as far as I can tell, to help each other — our brothers, our sisters, our friends, our enemies." -- SRV

I'm redoubling my effort to be more deliberate about that.  Help the person in front of you at HEB unload their basket.  Pause and genuinely smile as the slower old lady with her cart moves beside you in the grocery aisle.  Wave a car into your lane.  Talk to a retail clerk by name.  And tell your friends that you love them.  I don't mean just words, I mean hug the guy next time you see him, tell him you love him, and how much he means to you.  Listen to your kids.  Make them talk to you.  And don't offer solutions right away -- just listen.  Ask them how their situation makes them feel.  Let them know you are there to love and support them, and ask them what they think you can do to help.  There's no magic recipe.  We likely won't get it right.  But we'll love them just the same.  And they will know it.  And maybe, hopefully, that's enough.

It breaks my damned heart.   This world breaks my damned heart.

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1 hour ago, Brisketexan said:

That’s how I spent my Saturday afternoon.

 18 years old.  College freshman.  One of my daughter’s high school classmates.  This was the SECOND of her classmates to take his/her own life.  Telling her over Facetime from almost 2,000 miles away when we got the news…not being to hold her as she cried in anguish….that sucked.

 The church was full.  People from his parents’ generation.  People – kids, really – from his generation.  Their presence killed me.  They were regular, odd, unique, some with green hair, some dressed perfectly for church.  So many of these were the "different" kids -- the artists, who feel so deeply.  The unusual, who don't fit into convention.   And so many of them just wracked with sobs and grief.  At every quiet moment, cries both soft and strong echoed off the walls.  So many of them who were just like him.  So many who are loved and supported, but don’t always feel it in the moment.

 I sat next to my son, who is having his own struggles with being that age, and how to feel, and being overwhelmed and depressed, and the stark terror of being a parent sat in my bones.  I just want to keep him alive.

 I can’t tell you how sad it all felt.  How sad I felt.  How discouraging it was, to have lost a light.  How helpless it makes us all feel.

 The moment – the communal moment of grief, of shared love for one who was lost, and of love for one another, whether we knew each other before or not – was powerful, and important.

 All we really have is each other.  Please, love each other.  Be kind.  Those are active verbs.  There are 100 moments in a day when we can choose apathy or even callousness/cruelty over kindness.  Choose kindness.  Some of the most profound moments in my life are moments when someone showed me kindness when I most needed it.  I know I’m not alone in that respect.

 Be kind.  Please.  It matters.

Very well written.

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That's tough to read.  I have two high school aged daughters. 

Even seemingly strong teenagers have fragile sensibilities.  As an adult its easy to minimize the things they worry and stress about, but don't.  Their problems may be just as devastating to them as losing a loved one, losing a job, or losing a house would be to an adult.  Teenagers have much less experience coping with worry and stress. 

Edited by Jerry Callo

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Good message, Brisket.  It was a beautiful service, in large part because of all the people that were there and the message that their presence conveyed.  I know it meant a lot to the family, his parents were a bit overwhelmed by it all.  They are pretty committed to carrying on their sons advocacy for the "different" kids.  Good to see you there.

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20 minutes ago, Judge Roybeanbag said:

Good message, Brisket.  It was a beautiful service, in large part because of all the people that were there and the message that their presence conveyed.  I know it meant a lot to the family, his parents were a bit overwhelmed by it all.  They are pretty committed to carrying on their sons advocacy for the "different" kids.  Good to see you there.

It was good to see you, brother.  We love you and your family, and I just want to make damned sure we say that loudly, and often.

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1 minute ago, tbone_ said:

Wtff is going on?

A young man died by his own hand.  He was known to more than one person on this board.  And it really, really sucks.

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Just now, tbone_ said:

Wtff is going on?

The boy he posted about was my sister's youngest kid.  He and Brisket's kid were high school classmates and friends.  

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Condolences to everyone that knew him.

Reading that took me back to my sophmore year of high school. We lost a classmate, shit it was 29 years ago on 11/15.

That was my first experience with suicide...unfortunately not my last. :(

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Judge, I am terribly sorry to hear that.  My wife's nephew committed suicide at a similar age a few years ago, and it was (and remains) a monumental life-wrecking event for all involved.  Such a heart-breaking thing to go through.  So many questions for all involved.  I didn't know what to say, and I still don't.  My wife's sister breaks down now and again, but her husband has more or less returned to his fairly stoic ways.  I fear he has internalized most of it. 

It's just such a sad, sad thing.

His service was similar -- crazy-haired art kids, nerds, jocks, academics, all were there.  Everyone was linked not by this horrible moment, but by their shared love of a depressed kid.  Recognizing that didn't help much but it was one of the few bright things to reach for.  Love is good, I suppose.  Loved kids feeling wanted and valued would be better.

Edited by jimmyjazz

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Damn man that’s terrible. Can’t imagine. Hope y’all find some type of peace and understanding in the coming months.

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The boy he posted about was my sister's youngest kid.  He and Brisket's kid were high school classmates and friends.  

I am so sorry.

What I actually meant in my post, but didn’t articulate well, is what in the hell is going on in our culture? I keep hearing stories like this. And as a parent, well as a human really, just trying to figure out what’s happening to us.

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1 hour ago, jimmyjazz said:

Judge, I am terribly sorry to hear that.  My wife's nephew committed suicide at a similar age a few years ago, and it was (and remains) a monumental life-wrecking event for all involved.  Such a heart-breaking thing to go through.  So many questions for all involved.  I didn't know what to say, and I still don't.  My wife's sister breaks down now and again, but her husband has more or less returned to his fairly stoic ways.  I fear he has internalized most of it. 

It's just such a sad, sad thing.

His service was similar -- crazy-haired art kids, nerds, jocks, academics, all were there.  Everyone was linked not by this horrible moment, but by their shared love of a depressed kid.  Recognizing that didn't help much but it was one of the few bright things to reach for.  Love is good, I suppose.  Loved kids feeling wanted and valued would be better.

It’s a hard thing.  Sorting through things personally, the helpless feeling, guilt that I still have my great kids, fear that I might not have them tomorrow, not knowing what to say to my sister and her husband.  That’s difficult but pales in comparison to what they must be going through.  They’re determined to make something positive come from it.  Last Friday would have been his 19th birthday, and some dear friends of theirs gave a birthday party for close friends and family, which was sad and wonderful all at the same time.  Saturday was the memorial, and yesterday we siblings and spouses all had a meal together, sort of to make sure everyone was doing ok, and share some good memories. That was when I had those enchiladas I posted.  

Anyway, the whole thing resulted in a positive change for me, which is I will no longer shy away from discussions about those “weird” kids, whether gay or trans or depressed or whatever, because it’s uncomfortable.  I’ll stand up for them and advocate where I can.  Because in the end they are like you and me, they are sons and daughters, friends, classmates...  They are human.   That was made abundantly clear.  

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That was hard to read. My youngest kid, age 16, is battling depression and has had suicidal thoughts. Sucks.

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I know you keep the faith, brisket. Judge I'm sorry for y'alls lost. I'm glad you're turning this into a positive, and hopefully your sister and bil will find peace. 

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4 minutes ago, workswithseed said:

I know you keep the faith, brisket. Judge I'm sorry for y'alls lost. I'm glad you're turning this into a positive, and hopefully your sister and bil will find peace. 

Yeah, I couldn't sing any of the hymns Saturday.  Here I am Lord, and Canticle of the Turning.  Perfect hymns for the person, and the service.  I just fucking cried through both of them.

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15 minutes ago, Judge Roybeanbag said:

I will no longer shy away from discussions about those “weird” kids, whether gay or trans or depressed or whatever, because it’s uncomfortable.  I’ll stand up for them and advocate where I can.  Because in the end they are like you and me, they are sons and daughters, friends, classmates...  They are human.   That was made abundantly clear.  

And so much this.  There's an epidemic of loneliness in our society, even for folks who fit into the conventional box.  For those who don't....it's so much harder.  But they are all fellow children of God, taking this journey along with us.  We just need to walk alongside them and love them.  No matter what.

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Such a tough read.  Suicide and depression among our children's generation is a growing epidemic, and I shudder at the likelihood my kids will have to deal with it sometime in their youth in a away I never did.  God willing not directly, but the odds are decent they'll know someone who takes their own life before they graduate from college. 

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23 minutes ago, Judge Roybeanbag said:

Anyway, the whole thing resulted in a positive change for me, which is I will no longer shy away from discussions about those “weird” kids, whether gay or trans or depressed or whatever, because it’s uncomfortable.  I’ll stand up for them and advocate where I can.  Because in the end they are like you and me, they are sons and daughters, friends, classmates...  They are human.   That was made abundantly clear.  

Well, maybe that's a positive.  I have a bunch of family members, most not by blood, but some are, who struggle with clinically diagnosed depression, anxiety, and OCD, and all of those can seemingly make it easier to head down a dark path.  I'd like to think my actions, were I to be more positive and outwardly express love, would help . . . but I fear that's a bit presumptuous.  The fact is that depression can be very deep and hard to reach, even for close family members and professionals.  It can also hide, or at least be somewhat hidden.

I believe you and I agree that what you are advocating for is a "must" for involved, compassionate members of society, but this is a big problem and it probably needs a multi-pronged "solution", and even that won't be enough for some people.

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35 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

Well, maybe that's a positive.  I have a bunch of family members, most not by blood, but some are, who struggle with clinically diagnosed depression, anxiety, and OCD, and all of those can seemingly make it easier to head down a dark path.  I'd like to think my actions, were I to be more positive and outwardly express love, would help . . . but I fear that's a bit presumptuous.  The fact is that depression can be very deep and hard to reach, even for close family members and professionals.  It can also hide, or at least be somewhat hidden.

I believe you and I agree that what you are advocating for is a "must" for involved, compassionate members of society, but this is a big problem and it probably needs a multi-pronged "solution", and even that won't be enough for some people.

Yes, I fear that most people's ordinary actions have little influence on those suffering from mental illness, at least insofar as being kind or concerned or otherwise positive.

There are some techniques that can be used with the depressed to get them toward treatment when their illness tells them not to seek or continue treatment.  These are actually pretty good.  https://www.webmd.com/depression/depression-caregiver-tips

Sorry for your loss, Judge, you've had a rough go for a while now.  This too shall pass.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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Suicide Prevention Hotline. I keep it in my phone. Have shared it multiple times.

800-273-8255

No story should end too soon.

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1 hour ago, tbone_ said:

Do you think it’s loneliness that’s causing the situation?

The internet isn't helping. And I don't mean to be glib about that. It is pervasive in how it can drive and accentuate the loneliness. Even among adults, if you are on social media, it appears everyone is living a great life but you.

Then you add the bullying. An older surgeon I know was talking about how it dawned on him that what has changed was back then, when you got home, the bullying stopped. No matter how bad it was, you got home and got some respite. Now, you just carry it into your room with you, in the palm of your hands. You could easily have a young kid penned up in his/her room getting crushed for hours in your own house and you might be unaware of it, because none of us grew up that way.

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45 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

Yes, I fear that most people's ordinary actions have little influence on those suffering from mental illness, at least insofar as being kind or concerned or otherwise positive.

There are some techniques that can be used with the depressed to get them toward treatment when their illness tells them not to seek or continue treatment.  These are actually pretty good.  https://www.webmd.com/depression/depression-caregiver-tips

Sorry for your loss, Judge, you've had a rough go for a while now.  This too shall pass.

Thanks, 5 family members in 6 years is a bit of a grind.  3 were just old age/health  but two were suicides related to mental issues.  Unlike my older sister, this one was totally unexpected.  He was changing meds, apparently, and just had a downswing and too strong of an impulse.  

Personally I’m doing really well, mainly because of some behavioral changes like laying off alcohol.   I haven’t ever really struggled with the type of depression and anxiety that others in my family have though.  Thankfully.  

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I’m sorry for your families loss judge. That’s a tough read. One of my close cousins who was known by a couple of people on this board took her life in November 4 years ago in her parent’s house. She left behind a son and a mother who are both still a complete mess. She battled issues most of her adult life and could never escape her demons until the day she did.

As a parent of two teenage girls this is one of those things that worries me. Their school life is a much more brutal place than I remember and it just seems to be a constant battle.

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Just had a friend share a Pavlovitz piece that rings rather loudly right now:


https://johnpavlovitz.com/2019/02/21/everyone-around-you-is-grieving-go-easy/

Everyone is grieving and worried and fearful, and yet none of them wear the signs, none of them have labels, and none of them come with written warnings reading, I’M STRUGGLING. BE KIND TO ME.

And since they don’t, it’s up to you and me to look more closely and more deeply at everyone around us: at work or at the gas station or in the produce section, and to never assume they aren’t all just hanging by a thread. Because most people are hanging by a thread—and our simple kindness can be that thread.

We need to remind ourselves just how hard the hidden stories around us might be, and to approach each person as a delicate, breakable, invaluable treasure—and to handle them with care.

As you make your way through the world today, people won’t be wearing signs to announce their mourning or to alert you to the attrition or to broadcast how terrified they are—but if you look with the right eyes, you’ll see the signs.

There are grieving people all around you.

Go easy.


I just can’t help but think about how fragile we all can be in a particular moment. And how just a little bit of someone else’s strength can help.

Twicehorn is right - mere kindness generally isn’t a difference maker in cases of severe clinical depression. But there are enough folks on the margins who can be helped...and that’s worth it.

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Thank you Brisket and Judge for sharing your very personal story.  My only kid (son, 19) is away at college in NYC, so he doesn't come home except for holidays and summer.  I do worry about him being so far away where it is hard to keep tabs on his emotional well-being.  He seems to be doing fine, yet like most people his age, he is addicted to his phone and so is vulnerable to whatever transpires via the ether.  He gets home tomorrow for Thanksgiving, and I will make an effort to take stock of how he is doing physically, emotionally and mentally.  And of course to also let him know (not that this is new news) that he is so, so loved.  You gentlemen sharing this story really gives me an impetus to do so.  Thank you.

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Sometimes a thread will come along that pulls out all the stops and helps us realize how human and fragile we really are (or should be), and I believe that this is one of those. Judge, I’m really sorry for your loss, and Brisket, thank you for starting this thread.

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Truly sorry to hear judge. May your family find peace, somehow. 
 

10 hours ago, Brew said:

As a parent of two teenage girls this is one of those things that worries me. Their school life is a much more brutal place than I remember and it just seems to be a constant battle.

My oldest of 3 has already opened my eyes to how much of things have changed, I think.  Any little thing can just be the end of the world (in their fragile minds), even for a very well adjusted kid. It’s mind boggling to me at the time, and I need to learn to accept and help with it before they get older. 

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My sincere condolences to all who were close to him. It is such a difficult thing to deal with.

Three suicides in my extended family, and two immediate family members have gone through periods of depression., so we do have emotional ties with others’ experiences.

 

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Your child's mental well being is always on your mind, as a parent. I  reinforce daily to CHIEF Jr. how much he means to me. I tell him all of my hopes and dreams, as well as his mother's are wrapped up in him, and that he is by far the best thing that has ever happened to us. My hope, is that knowing how much we care, will always keep him from doing something dumb or irrational. It's just a fact of the World we live in today. It's even more important to call them and remind them of this each day when they are off somewhere in college.

Brisket, you are a great friend, and the caring and compassion you show is what humanity is supposed to show each other. So sorry to hear about this Judge. Another light in a dimming World that was snuffed out to soon.

CHIEF 

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Dunno what to say, other than I'm sorry for your nephew, you and the rest of your family, @Judge Roybeanbag.  My wife's brother committed suicide when he was like 15, some 26 years ago.  She and her parents are still profoundly affected by his loss to this day.  But -- and for whatever it is worth -- they have found a way to to live with it while still finding joy and happiness in the world.

Good message in the OP.

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On 11/25/2019 at 4:00 PM, Judge Roybeanbag said:

The boy he posted about was my sister's youngest kid.  He and Brisket's kid were high school classmates and friends.  

 

Oh man, Judge so sorry to read.  That's all I have to offer--sorry, friend.

 

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On 11/25/2019 at 11:03 AM, Brisketexan said:

Help the person in front of you at HEB unload their basket.

Keep your gotdam hands off my basket.  Other than that, agree 1000%.

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12 minutes ago, Beau Vine said:

Keep your gotdam hands off my basket.  Other than that, agree 1000%.

Look, man....if you've got a nice six pack of a beer I haven't tried before, I'm gonna get a bit handsy.  Don't "me too!" me, bro.

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