Thursday, September 2, 2010

I wasn't aware I signed on for this...

Today we buried a 20 year old.  It was probably one of the largest funerals I have participated in in my entire career.  His friends milled around, lost and not knowing what to do with themselves.  His parent's friends all took time out of their lives to come and support the family and secretly thank "whomever" that it isn't their child.  His parents are destroyed.  And that is putting it mildly. 

I wish people would think about their actions before completing them.  I don't think people realize how dire a bad decision can be and how it completely changes the lives of those around them.  I know kids subcumb to peer pressure and the desire to be cool and fit in can be so strong that one is willing to do whatever it takes.  It's devastating to sit across from these parents and make funeral arrangments with them.  It steals a piece of our souls, a little at a time.  And we don't even know the deceased.

As a parent I cannot begin to wrap my head around my child dying before me.  I can't begin to empathize with them because I have ZERO idea of what it must feel like.  I trust I would have to be sedated.  I trust I would have to be carried out of the funeral home after the visiting because I refused to leave my child.  I can't imagine the desperation I'd feel walking away from them at the cemetery.  The idea makes me sick to my stomach. 

This young man lived 20 years.  Twenty years of hopes and dreams for his parents snuffed out in one decision.  A decision he thought wouldn't take his life.  It would make him feel better. 

So to my fellow parent friends.  If I have any advice to give you as a result of my experiences with this type of thing, please PICK YOUR BATTLES.  Ask yourself, is this worth yelling and screaming over?  Because I can tell you this, I know of one mother who would kill to have to wipe pee off the toilet seat just one more time. 

Love your children.  Give them happy memories.  Listen to them.  Talk to them.  Praise them.  Discipline them when necessary, but don't sweat the small stuff.  Life is just too damn short.

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