Yesterday morning, the morning after one of the world’s holidays for love, my daughter, Artist, opened up her instagram account to find out that a young man we know ended his own life. He was 17 years old. This is the second person in the last 6 months that we knew personally. In both cases I can remember the last time we saw them.
I need to tell you the story of how we know this young man. It was almost 6 years ago. My daughter was taking hunters ed (required in our state if you want to hunt) and I was attending with her because I have never had it either. After one of the classes this boy and his sister came over and asked us why we were wearing dresses – were we Hutterite? They were very polite, just curious. This was the beginning…
Since we live out in the country and they live in town and we homeschool and they went to public school, we didn’t see them a lot, but every summer at the farmer’s market they would come by our table and say hello. (especially to my daughter). They were very kind and very friendly. Both had a genuine sweetness about them.
One day, a couple of years ago, this boy, now a polite and handsome young man, came over to our table at the market and was talking to both of us and asked ME if he could take my daughter out for pizza with their group – on a date. Very unusual in these days. I said as kindly as I could that I very much appreciated him asking me, but that we do not date. I suggested that instead he could come over to our place and get to know our family. He declined.
We still continued to see him. He was ALWAYS friendly and kind. The last time we saw him last summer, he was with a girlfriend walking around the market. He stopped and talked to us, telling us about his plans to go to a police academy (or something like that).
I am feeling a heavy burden that we did not reach out MORE to this brother and sister. I feel the pain of his sister as I read each of her posts on fb. She is the one who found him. Their mother is not in the picture. I don’t know that story. She is writing her feelings to him in letters on her fb account and we can all read them. They are heart wrenching. If my daughter and I are in an emotional state the past two days, I can’t even begin to fathom what his sister is going through. I want to be there for her, but we haven’t been enough of a part of their lives for her to be comfortable with that. I am still letting her know I am here.