Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tragedy. Where are the answers?...

I know I want to run and hide. I know I want to move to an ideal commune on a paradise island and shelter my child from all scary evil things. I also know that evil finds a way. 

I know that kids are kids. I know kids make mistakes. I know many kids "these days", do not know the real thing of 'death'. To them it's South Park Kenny being killed off each episode and returning the next. It's a video game of blasting heads and an easy reset button to start again. It's a common expression with no thought or meaning "I'm dieing",  "I'll kill you"  and "I'm gonna kill myself."

(Preschool has been in session a month and he's already repeating the first two. PRESCHOOL. 4 year olds!!)

I know kids are carrying a heavy burden. Too much. The pressure from all angles. From school academics- social pressures- activity performance alone. It's too much. Add in the never ending nagging of a mother like me and--- well. I want to do better by my son. He needs room to thrive. Margin to grow. Not a heavy burden to carry.

You see, this weekend, here in my hometown a 9yo boy was sent to his room for something, seemingly mundane. Something many kids are sent to their room for every day. But this time, was different, somehow. To him. He hung himself. There, in his room.

Evidence shows, he clearly had no idea what he was doing when he tied the knots as the struggle marks on his body were so severe, the family couldn't imagine an open coffin. Cremation the only way.

Who knows? Seemingly this was a spur of the moment choice. No obvious violence or outstanding dysfunction in the home. But we all have secrets. We all have regrets. We all carry burdens.

I can't sit here and point fingers as to the 'why' this happened. It isn't "south park kenny's" fault. It isn't the games. It isn't the internet to blame. We are always looking for blame. Something to pin it one. Anger wants a target. It is my instinct, for sure. Fueling the fire to flame the parent/movies/games/internet, in this one case, will do nothing to help all 9 year old boys.

The culmination of this and a number of other things got me to realize something: My kid believes what I tell him. He believes HOW I tell him. He listens to what I say and watches what I do.

I 'knew' that all along. Relatively sure we all do. But now- in the context of a child hanging himself- regardless of the how and why- places urgency on EVERY MOMENT and EVERY DAY that I am with him. He will always be somewhere else in this world more time, than he is with me. That makes my time with him URGENT. Urgent that I'm saying what matters. Urgent that I'm teaching, inspiring, feeding his soul.

Please God, give me all the heavy lifting and your strength to carry it.

I believe in the power of God. I know many of you have varying degrees of God or "religion" buy-in. (Which is why I love you all by the way- you push me and challenge me to keep thinking!). So I cling to Him. This child was placed in my hands gently and I must hold him, also gently. Not tight. Not so much that he cannot breathe his own Life into this world- but gently. Cling tightly to God and be at peace with that. Cause seriously?!?! What else is there? I can be angry, scared and foolish. But it will do no good for us, or the rest of this world if I feed the fears and disappear to a commune of FBI clearanced families on a paradise island.

Sitting thinking, praying and writing around the death of a precious child. That's what I'm doing- circling it. It is not my tragedy. I am not a victim. So writing about the "I" in this sounds strange, but, if I close my eyes and chose not to see, learn, and grow by all that surrounds me- how am I human? Please forgive the "I". I am human.


kn said...

Oh Shannon I am so very sorry to read this. Thank you for writing this. I haven't been reading blogs of late, strange this would be the one. Quinn was the same in pre-k and kindergarten. We put a stop to it right away the same way we don't allow words like 'starving' out of context.

Although Q has had very limited exposure to movies and cartoons and tv shows when he was five he went through a rough time and he would say things like "I'm going to push my chair over so I'll be dead and I won't feel anything." I think feelings are taboo in our society. Children are not allowed to express, sadness, anger, frustration, loneliness. One thing I've begun to do is write very short letters to the boys several times a week. I bought a small art notepad so I can only write a wee bit on it each time. I date each page. It's nice because I have an opportunity to think about my word choice that I don't have during normal conversation.

You're right about blame. Those parents are not to blame. We are all together in this world doing the best we can and trying to learn how to do better. Thanks for writing tonight and sharing your light.


Paula said...

What a horrible, sad tragedy. My heart goes out to the family. I simply cannot imagine the pain of losing my child in any way, and having come so close to tragedy ourselves just awhile ago... well, there are no words. You are right to lean on God and love as strongly as you can. We never know what is going to happen tomorrow.

Sunday said...

Terrifying! Heartbreaking!

Although I find your post inspiring in some way. We must let our kids be and feel true to themselves. We must show respect for life. We must love them just the way they are.

los cazadores said...

Truly heartwrenching. I love what Kristine said above, she really is a sage, and I love her idea of writing notes to her boys.

I just said to Oakley two days ago - it's okay to feel X, Y, and Z emotions. I try to keep reinforcing that.

It is so confounding that a 9 yr old would do this... what bears the culpability, who knows, horrible things happen everyday. I have to sometimes actively, purposefully look around to find light and love and kindness and hope in humanity.

I think your writing about it and talking it is incredibly useful, and I love your statement that every moment is an urgent one.

Sharon said...

I don't think I've commented here before, but I've read often. This is such a horrendous story. I have kiddos in that same age range and it is breaking my heart.

You're right, kids to believe what we tell them and HOW we tell them. They know if we're really listening, if we're really their biggest cheerleader, or if we're pretending. Parenting is such a demanding job, but so, so desperately important. My husband said recently, "this [parenting] is the ONE thing we cannot fail on."

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.