“Every word has consequences. Every silence, too.” – Jean-Paul Sartre
What do we say to the parent who lost their child? To the teacher who now looks at an empty desk for the rest of the school year? To the coach who now has an extra jersey?
I beg for everyone to think before they spew loathsome words into the universe. Young or old, rich or poor. Before the words that leave your mouth enter another human being’s ear and are implanted forever. Before you type that comment that is blinding to the eyes. Before you destroy the soul of a fellow classmate. Before you take away someone’s son, someone’s daughter.
Teen suicide are two words that should not even be used together in a sentence yet they are in our local headlines. There have been 5 suicides since May at the very high school I graduated from. When I attended that school 7 years ago, suicide was a term kids didn’t use aloud. We may have heard it whispered in the halls that a student from a neighboring high school took his life but that was so far out of our reach that it didn’t even seem real.
But now it is happening right in front of us. Forcing us to remove the scales from our eyes and see what demons are manifesting beneath the surface of your lab partner.
I cannot fathom the delicate state of mind a young, beautiful person is burdened with. How do they not see their potential? Why did they not tell someone? Or did they tell someone and no one listened? Why did we ignore the signs? These questions are reeling, exhausting, endless, hopeless…
Then there is silence.
Those words you say may mean nothing to you, but they may mean everything to someone.
To someone who is not here anymore. Whose silence screams louder than their presence ever did.
But we are still here and we may as well do something about it.