I had just heard about another life snuffed out too soon. An 8 year old boy, from Cincinnati, commited suicide a couple days after being the victim of bullying. The articles I read spoke of possible security camera footage, and shortly there after the footage was released.
Now, if you have read my post The Abyss, then you know how deeply affected I am by suicide and depression. Just as I needed to step to the edge of the abyss at the loss of two friends who chose to end their lives, and wonder what went through their minds at that moment, or try to conceive what had brought them to that point…there I sat watching a video of a beautiful young man, beaten and left lying on the bathroom, tile floor. I close my eyes and I can still see his legs, unmoving, and my eyes fill with tears. I feel anger boiling up inside myself, I want to reach into the screen and slap those boys awake that brutalized him. Tell them that he didn’t deserve that treatment, that they don’t understand with their still developing minds, just how much damage they are doing to him. But, as angry as I might initially feel, my eyes are drawn back to those legs and I, again, find myself wanting to reach into the screen, but this time to cradle this young man in my arms and tell him that everything can still be okay, despite how he might feel at this moment, that just because some misguided boys chose him as the target of their hatred, that he is still loved. The love his family and friends have for him isn’t erased by these actions. I want to tell him, that even though I only know him now in his passing, that I love him.
Then I start thinking about my two-year-old, mini-me, and I feel awash in 100 different emotions all at once. I am scared for him. I am angry at a world where this happens. I feel a rage that carries the heat of a thousand suns, at the thought that this could someday happen to him and how I would tear the school down, brick by brick, with my bare hands. I think about what I need to do to prepare him for this possibility. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Boxing. Judo. Let him know that he can shield his heart with the knowledge that I love him more that anything in the world and he could get through this even if it meant we walk off into the woods and live the rest of our lives off the grid. Then I want to raise him to know that bullying can’t be allowed to happen, that at the very least he would alert a grownup right away, or put himself at risk by getting in the middle, but then I worry again about what could happen to him, and my head spins and my heart swells to bursting and my eyes blur with the coming tears.
In the end I’m left not knowing what to do, other than write out my frustration.
In the end I gain a piece of understanding how our fragile spirit can be pushed every so easily from the glass menagerie shelf. A piece I felt I needed to know, but now wish I hadn’t.
Gabriel Taye…you are loved.