Monday, February 1, 2010

A Flame To Light The Way Home


"May we live our lives beyond separation."
~ Jacqueline T. Snyder

Our small community suffered a true tragedy the other day. A teen-aged neighbor came home and took his life.

By all accounts he was a well adjusted, studious, well-liked, high school football player. Had a wonderful, supportive family. Had lots of friends. Was happy and polite. He ended his brief life for reasons that he took with him when he left. Leaving us with questions and no answers. Leaving those who loved and cared about him with numbing sorrow.

What we do know is that it seems as though he may have had a fight with his girlfriend while at a basketball game; left abruptly; came straight home; and shot himself.

Gone. Just like that. And in the place he used to occupy is now a brother, a mother and a step-father, and family dogs beside themselves with grief and heartache. What was a home of new neighbors who we were just beginning to know, is now a place where we wish we could help but know there is little we can offer to ease the pain.

This young man smiled and waved when we walked by on our evening strolls. Or said hello when he was out walking his dogs. I would see him running laps in the neighborhood, keeping himself in shape for the football field. But, in a brief instant, when he thought his world was forever altered, he struggled and lost his will to live. And, I am struck with the notion that I will never get to know this young man any deeper than a wave, a smile, and a run.

With his leaving he takes his reasons for the why, and leaves a bitter void. He leaves a family who will never understand. I know that it is perfectly reasonable that we find our thoughts going to him and his family.

But, I also want to remember and feel for the young girl involved in this. The teenager who argued with her boyfriend as all couples do from time to time. I send her prayers and energy because, I promise you, without love, support, counseling, and care, she will never get over feeling guilty and at fault. She will never be released from the curse of wondering what she could have and should have done differently. She will walk through her life haunted by a misguided notion that she could have prevented this horrible thing.

And that would be another tragedy .

Because the truth is, she could not have done a thing to stop it. She was not the thing that caused this. She is not responsible for the actions of another. She has a life to live with this as one of the hard experiences that will go unexplained.

She deserves to live a life with as much joy, hope, love, and care as she can find after all of this. Just as the family he leaves behind will eventually, hopefully find their way back to living.

I don't know how it will happen, but I believe it is completely possible. And, I hope for all of us who have been directly or remotely touched by this incident, that we ponder the lessons of living, and loving and trying every day, as they relate to our own experiences.

Can we answer: Are we better Human Beings because we knew this youngster when he was with us along with his choice to leave us? If we aren't made better, then it really will be meaningless. By our actions, let us prove that his life had meaning, even if it is simply to usher in a renewed awareness of how important it is to appreciate those we love every day they are with us.

Recently, a dear friend shared that her mother leaves a candle lighted in the front window all year round, not just the holiday season. She does it as a testament to her constant illuminating love for her children. The candle also shines as their beacon back home again should they ever need it; no questions asked.

I find this outward sign to love and safe haven to be incredibly poignant. I wish that all of us had something like it in our lives. Likewise, we should work to be a beacon of love and safety for all of those we contact. A light that helps someone lost in the dark to reach further and grab hold.

In a house just down the street from me, there is darkness now. Sadness. Heartache. Pain. There is a mother wishing she could light a candle bright enough to lead her son back to her. A family wondering how to move forward with life. In support of them all, I will light a candle in my spirit's window in hope that they can eventually feel the light of peace and love that still exists even though things are forever changed.

For my young neighbor, I hope the light leads him safely home to what waits for us when we leave this Earth home. Lights his path back to the Flame of Love that will not ever be extinguished.


Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Lights A Candle

20 comments:

clairedulalune said...

Oh Holly, what a tragedy. That poor boy, poor family and I firmly agree with you about the help and support for his girlfriend and family.Such a shock and lost time for everyone involved. My thoughts are with them. Beautifully written Holly.

Alison said...

Another beautifully written post. And thank you for caring about the young woman, because yes, she will need so much help to get through this and you are right - this is not her fault! It is a tragedy for so many people and no-one will ever really understand why such a seemingly 'together' young man took such a drastic step. My heart goes out to everyone.

Eternally Distracted said...

heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking... I'm really glad that you wrote what you did about the girlfriend, I really feel for her for the reasons you mentioned. How terrible for the whole family :0(

Tabitha@ichoosebliss said...

This is an awful tragedy Holly. I hold you all in my prayers. I also pray that the girlfriend have a strong support system, because she will truly need it. I wish her great peace.

Mark Pemburn said...

Ah Hol, this one touched a nerve. Nearly forty years ago, I moved out to California with my best friend from high school to start a new life far from the cramped town I grew up in. Within two weeks of arriving, my friend killed himself, leaving not a word of explanation. It plunged me into a world of depression that took a long time to recover from.

From this, though, an understanding: no matter how badly the demons in may cry to end it all -- as they have on occasion over the years -- I can't take that way out because I _know_ what it does to the ones you leave behind.

Sarah said...

Oh Holly that is just heartbreaking. I am so deeply sorry! I will be sending energy and healing to all concerned. I love that you mentioned the girl..how painful for her young heart. It is all just so hard to accept the loss of such a young one. You have offered this up with such grace an love hon. Gentle hugs to you my friend.Love, Sarah

insomniac ellen said...

Oh God--that pain never goes away, it just lingers on the outskirts of your soul until something like this brings it back to the center of things. My children and I lost their dad to suicide almost 4 years ago. and the heartache for those left behind is indescribable. You spend hours, days, weeks, months, years trying to figure out what you could have done to prevent it. And you're right--you really couldn't have. Something deep within them probably always felt empty and they just reached the breaking point. the twisted logic being that their leaving will make things better for everyone else as well. If they really knew the years of agony they would cause their loved ones, I don't think anyone would make that choice to take themselves "out of the game" as it were.

There is a marvelous book called THE SUICIDE INDEX written by a woman who's father committed suicide. It was very helpful to my daughter and I.

Peace and love to you and your neighbors, ellen

Eileen said...

Holly, thank you for shedding the light on this tremendously moving tragedy in such as a way as to help us all grow ... find value in what his short life and untimely death might teach us too. Beautifully expressed and very thought-provoking. I send my love, light and positive energies to all touched by this loss

Jules Big Girl Bombshell said...

Beautiful words to remind us how life is so very important and while we should not fret the small stuff, we should honor the small stuff in everyone. The things we do and the actions we take are life altering. I have a similar thing that I do for my loved ones. I gave them a penny and a dime when they were teenagers. Everyday they see a dime, they are remind of their worth (a tithe) and every time they see a penny, they are reminded how much they are loved! Pennies from heaven! Whenever they struggle with relationships or other things in their life, I hand them a dime and a penny. It says it all!
Thank u Holly for your profound words!

Desert Mermaid said...

I could hardly stand to read this. With 2 sons? Unimaginable agony, and yet VERY imaginable agony. There was more going on with that young guy than met anyone's eye. A fight with a girlfriend triggered some kind of dominoe effect that had been building. Not to know what the other dominoes were? there is no choice but not to know. There is no way that is acceptable or ever will be. My sons hate my guts sometimes because I push, push, push the communication, take them on drives where they DO open up ... tell me about their friends (one is addicted to prescription drugs) ... themselves (it really confuses me that ... or 'I hate it when ...') and even though I do that, it's no guarantee they'd come to me. As a neighbor, but a new one, I'm not sure what you can do. Offer to walk the dogs is the immediate thing that popped into my head, something concrete that then they don't have to worry about while they're anguished ... I'm anguished and I didn't know him at all until meeting him in this post. And I'm GLAD to have known about his life.

Linda said...

This family is lucky to have you as a neighbor. Hopefully the loving energy of your post, and thoughts from all of your friends reaches them and the young lady.
I am sure they need it in this sad time.

jkc said...

Truly lovely piece of writing, Holly.

beth said...

my heart is filled with sorrow...
having a teenage son who has been in fights with girlfriends, who is often moody, who seems depressed some days and is high on life on others....my heart aches, my mind races....

we {friends and me} lost a girlfriend 2 years ago...she hung herself while the kids were at school and her husband was at work....

and the why for something like this... is the only why.... I believe....that can never or will never be answered....

it's a secret buried deep within the soul of the one who decides to carry it with them and no matter what anyone does, that secret will never have a answer....

Suzie said...

I love reading your insights Holly. My step-brother ended his life with a gun when he was a senior in high school back in the 70's. After an argument with his girlfriend. So I can relate to what that family, and his girlfriend are going through, and what they are facing.

And for some reason,it is comforting to know that there is another Mom out there who keeps a candle or light burning in the window. When I first got married, back in the 60's, I had a little accent lamp that I kept burning on my kitchen windowsill every night. When my kids were older, one of them said to me, that it was so nice, when they were coming home from an event at school, or a date, that there would be always be that warm glow coming from the kitchen window, welcoming them home.

The lamps have changed over the years, and so have the kitchens. The kids are grown, and have kids of their own, yet my lamp is still burning.

I'm sending some of my lamplight, along with positive energies out to that family, and their friends, that they may find some warmth and guidance from their dark abyss.

cinner said...

Holly, what a tragic story, it just breaks my heart, I feel so bad for the girlfriend and the family and friends that are left behind , and no they will never have any answers. Big hug to you.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Oh Holly, I have been on the run all day and just sat down to read blogs-- What a heartbreaking story.

Sadly, too many of us know people who have lost loved ones to suicide and there are never really enough answers, or any answers at all, to help make sense of it.

"Leaving the light on at home" has significant meaning to me. No matter how old I get, I know my Mom will welcome me with open arms. I find great comfort in knowing that and will make a more concentrated effort to do the same in my own home.

My heart is with you and your neighbors.

xo

SCJ Jewelry Design said...

My heart aches for this family and the girlfriend. A beautiful post and tribute to life and love. Thank you for sharing your feelings here.

Jeanne Klaver said...

This is heart-breaking, but your post is a beautiful tribute.

Rocky Creek Scotties and Java said...

Such a tragedy - parents shouldn't know the pain of outliving their children. Girlfriends shouldn't have to feel the guilt... My thoughts and prayers are with this family and with your neighborhood.

joyce said...

OMG, I am chilled all over from this. How utterly heartwrenching beyond words for the poor family, especially the mother. I would die myself if one of my sons ever did that....its so scary, teenagers are so impulsive and in the moment, they don't often realize that things will most certainly get better...god I'm crying, I've never cried over a blog before...words can't express the sorrow and heartbreak. And, you are so right about the young girl, I hope she gets lots of much-needed support from everyone around her.

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