Jason Ashley Wright: Another suicide shocks, for now
BY JASON ASHLEY WRIGHT World Scene Writer
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
2/05/13 at 8:26 AM
Go to Jason Ashley Wright's BlogOriginal Print Headline: Another teen suicide shocks, for now
I was all geared up to write a lagniappe column, what with it being Mardi Gras season.
But that all seemed even more trivial than usual following Monday morning, when a freshman committed suicide in a Coweta Intermediate High School lavatory.
Such a story is too familiar - not just in our country but in our state, our own neighborhoods. It was just last September when 13-year-old Cade Poulos took his life at Stillwater Junior High.
It's no less heartbreaking with each incident. Beyond the initial sadness, sympathy and earnest prayers for the family now aching from the loss of their child, I imagine many of us feel fear.
But it's not merely the legitimate fear of any horrible thing that could possibly happen in our children's schools, especially with Newtown, Conn., still a relatively new nightmare in our collective conscience. It's also the fear that we might possibly become desensitized, even if only slightly, to these events with each one that transpires.
Shock and outrage
Becoming less shocked to tragedies is a defense mechanism, of sorts. A thickening of the skin, for lack of a better way to put it - psychological armor. A facade.
Now, I'm not saying we should all fall apart for weeks on end with every evil that befalls mankind, no matter the scope, be it global in impact or more limited to a community.
We can't move forward as a society by remaining in mourning, and it doesn't serve the memory of those lost any better.
Still, I think it's important to keep our reactions to tragedy in check, as desensitization to such things as student suicide is as equal a tragedy as the suicide itself - because such a lessened response of shock and outrage could make these community catastrophes even more commonplace.
Forgive me for repeating myself from last fall's suicide at Stillwater Junior High, but our reaction as a community shouldn't be any different now than it would be were this the first time it ever happened. And the primary focus, other than keeping the grieving families in our thoughts and prayers, should be on the children left behind.
As I write this, I haven't even heard the Coweta student's name, so I won't - none of us ever should - assume what specific things prompted anyone to take his or her own life.
Our job, whether we're parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, whatever, is to continue reminding these kids that they are loved and worth being loved. It isn't coddling, it's nurturing. And it can be as simple and unobtrusive as offering a smile, a kind hello and a genuine, "How are you?" Because you never know when you might be that one person with that single question that prompts a kid to open up and ask for help. You could very well be that kid's last grasp at living.
And let them know you mourn this loss in our community. You may not have known this student nor the family. But at the very least, showing we're always affected by such adversity reminds kids questioning their own worth in life that they are loved very, very much.