My friend’s son killed himself: when tragedy strikes

This morning, I am in shock. My friend’s son killed himself. He was only 20.

What do you say to a mother or father who gets that news? There are no words.

As we run around, worrying about answering an email or returning a phone call, we forget that the routine tasks on our plates mean little when it comes to losing someone you love. There is nothing that can replace that hole for a parent who loses their child.

My friend may never understand why this tragedy occurred. But she will always wish she could have done more. She will think of every time she hugged her son, every moment she spent with him and wish there were more.

So, for all of us who have more time with our teens, let’s disconnect this weekend. Let’s not worry about the customer or supervisor who is giving us aggravation, the emails we need to answer, the errands we need to run. Let’s put our mobile devices in our pockets and leave them there. It’s Valentine’s weekend and the best time ever to show love to your teens and to those you care about by giving them what they want and need  most — our undivided attention.

My heart aches for my friend who has been clutching her son’s photo since learning of the news. She has experienced the kind of loss and perspective no one should have to endure. I know there is little I can do for her right now. It’s a helpless feeling.

So, for her and the other parents who have been in her shoes, let’s make the most of our Valentine’s Day and be present for our families. We all have people in our lives we love  – let’s show them through our actions. Let’s be present in body and mind. As my grieving friend as learned, roses and chocolates are nice but they pale in comparison to real conversation and a big hug.

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