By all accounts, this was an exemplary young man: honor student, athlete, musician, FFA, 4-H, brother, friend, son, grandson, sophomore. Yes, sophomore in high school. What possibly went so terribly wrong?
The vigil was completely organized by his friend and prom date, Brianna. With poise and courage she lovingly spoke of Cole and introduced all the other speakers she had organized. The gym and stage looked absolutely amazing, his framed football jersey, saxophone, FFA jacket, red flowers. Leah and I played our part in speaking about suicide awareness, and connected with the counselors and social workers who introduced themselves and are left wondering what to do. This was the second suicide this year in this tiny school. One social worker has set up a "Check and Connect" weekly over the summer. What a wonderful gift. A young man approached me and is organizing a suicide awareness event in September as his senior project.
I didn't have the guts to approach the grieving family, though I was feeling so much for the mom in particular. I gave my name and cell phone number to the counselor to share with her when it was appropriate. We left a bag of resources for the school including our support group and Out of the Darkness Walk information. My young colleague was inspired to get more involved in suicide prevention as a result of doing this.
I hope it was enough.
When will it end?