Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Monsters, Seen and Unseen

Last night, there was an automated call to my cell phone from the local superintendent.  She informed parents that a ninth grade student had died yesterday, name and details withheld for now, and events would be cancelled for the night.  More information would be forthcoming. 

This was eerily reminiscent of another call, five months ago, when Cathy's friend Jake died by choice, hanging himself in the boys' bathroom at school.  Sure enough, more information was shared, the ninth grader was revealed to be a small boy named Tyler, and he committed suicide.  It's Mount Vernon's second suicide in less than six months. 

As a parent, I am heartbroken for his family, scared of copycat deaths in the school, worried for my daughters, and at a loss as to WHY??  As a former teenager, I remember all too well WHY, how dire life seems, how clueless parents and teachers and peers can be, as I hid the animals within, those monsters of fear, self doubt and nameless, limitless emotion.  I wish I could tell every teenager that life WILL get better, just hang on and wait it out. I can start with my two, and hope they believe me.

Because life does get better.  Even when it is hard in ways we cannot fathom as a kid, we adults have learned tools the children do not have.  We understand that we were not the first people to walk this earth and love, and lose those loved, and eventually, to die.  We share this world and become more tolerant as we age, because we have met more of those people whose space we share. 

Another hidden monster, no less scary and dangerous than teen angst, are those hidden diseases which come out and throw our adult lives into chaos.  As all my readers know, last fall after I went blind, the neurologists diagnosed me with multiple sclerosis (many scars).  It was probable before that episode; after it, it was definite.  This is a scary, scary MonSter. 

But, I am not ready to die.  Knowing that I can, and will, has been the strangest gift of my life, to value life each day until it's gone.  I wish I could tell this to Jake and Tyler, wish they had known my girls well enough to be welcome guests in our home.  I wish...

Recently, I made a new friend.  Life is all about connecting and being surprised by beauties and sorrows.  Giselle, my brave friend, has written about her struggles with the MonSter.  I want to encourage my few readers to check out Gislle's blog as well, now listed on my page to the right.  Her monster comes out much more often than mine, but she is dealing with it. 

I wish those little boys had known their monsters were not unique, and others could have helped them fight them off, or wait them out. 

Very, very blue today. 

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