Friday, September 12, 2008
Local Youth Dies
I write this, knowing that many of the Middletown Eye readers are unaware of a recent loss in our community. On the first day of the last semester of his senior year, a young man, attending our local high school, came home from school, went into the bathroom, took a dose of heroin... and died. He was 17 years old. This was Thursday, September 4th, 2008. It is not in any of our news papers and they are barely speaking it above a whisper at our new high school. My grasp to understand this, and why I do not mention this young man's name, is out of respect to the unimaginable suffering of this boy's family.
I hope, frankly, to never truly understand where this family sits presently.
I share this not to sensationalize something so incredibly personal and unbearable, but, well, because my child knew this boy. My child was friends with this boy, and while his stupid, foolish, wasteful choice does not warrant celebrity, there are two things that I feel very strongly about;
One: he was a child. He was a baby once. He learned to walk, and ride a bike and spell 'cat', and write stories and laugh and love -and he was just a kid. He could have been mine. He could have been yours. He deserves not to be forgotten and brushed aside as if he had never been.
Two: Our children - the young people at our high school - could learn from this unthinkable, but real tragedy.
There are BAD drugs out there, folks, and they are really a whole heck of a lot closer and easier to get than any of us would like to think. The sadness and self loathing combined with feelings of invincibility could be found in any number of teens in Middletown.
This kid came from an educated, cultured, loving family - not unlike a lot of ours.
If this boy had died in a car accident, the counselors would be being brought in from other districts. Are we keeping his rotten choice from making him famous by keeping it under wraps, or are we dropping the ball and reinforcing a sense that life has minimal value and there aren't really any adults around who can be counted on for a shoulder and trust, honesty and wisdom -when you truly need them?
Again, I mean absolutely no disrespect to the privacy of this family whose loss is incomprehensible. I cannot even begin to imagine what I would want or how I would navigate if he had been my child.
So, I write...
In memoriam to a boy. A boy who thought he was all grown up, and wasn't ... and, sadly, never will be.
In hope. In hope that this family, one of our own, will find their way with love and support and grace -and that none of the rest of our children ever end up where this boy lay.
He was a Middletown kid. You've probably passed him on the street.
In memoriam. In sorrow. In anger. In frustration and confusion. In hope.