Hey mom. I remember sometime in high school or early college, I told you that I thought depression was just people being whiny, even though I knew you were dealing with some. I’d just like to apologize for that. Someone that I spent a lot of time with in the theatre department took his own life last night and no one saw it coming. Just wanted to take a moment to tell you that I love you.
My daughter sent me that text just a few days ago. This is not the first time in my children’s young years that this kind of tragedy has brushed into their lives. When my son was in 8th grade, a classmate had also taken his own life. You wonder what can be so bad, that that’s the only solution you can come up with. I remember being at Christmas Eve mass and I was handed a free book. So as I read through it, I remember reading that Bob Dylan’s grandmother used to tell him to be kind to everyone because you don’t know what they are going through. I thought about that.
How very true that is. We just seem to bump around day to day, lives softly brushing by one another as we make quick judgements on the mother with an unruly child, or the disheveled person at the grocery store, or the aged person driving way too slowly on the road. There is a show out there on Netflix that has just surfaced and it’s all about suicide. The creators say it’s not supposed to be easy to watch and that we should watch it with our kids. Well I think they are wrong. Why would I want to coddle and encourage that topic with my kids? I realize that it needs to be addressed, but weekly?
There is something seriously wrong with our society. Just look at the selection of reality shows out there. Look at what’s happening on social media, where murders are being recorded and people are actually laughing in the background. It reminds me of the Roman times where people would flock to an arena to cheer on as someone was killed. Sometimes I just sit and try to think of how we can fix this. Mark Zuckerberg is hiring thousands more employees to sift through social media to pull inappropriate postings, but honestly, I don’t think there’s anything you can do when there’s a live feed filtering through. My 18 year old jokes to me that his children will have flip phones. I think it’s a good idea. Hind sight is 20/20. When phones came out with cameras, they should have had regulations in place where kids in elementary and middle school could only have a flip phones at school to call in case of emergencies and after school communications with parents. And if there parents wanted to spend yet another 200 on a camera phone, fine, but not in school. With these devices at a very young age, we have promoted addiction, and desensitized our youth. Movies have ratings ( and don’t get me started) alcohol has an age restriction, why not these devices? I’d also love to see packages bundled where you don’t have to accept the channels that conflict with your values.
So what is the fix? I don’t know. What I do know is we need to slow down and challenge ourselves to put down our devices a little longer each day and take an interest in our neighbors. Friendships and relationships need to be nurtured, but it requires paying attention. And a lost art needs to make it’s way back. The art of listening and taking in another person’s opinion without knocking them to the ground figuratively. They seem like small steps to take. I think it’s worth a shot. And who knows, someone that may be considering doing the unthinkable, may change their mind, and figure out they do matter, and they in turn may be able to help others.
” Be kind to everyone because you don’t know what they may be going through.”