I don’t want to write this, I really, really don’t. At the same time I know that if I don’t, it is a copout.
Bossier Parish Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Baswell said today that it appears that the death of two teenagers was a suicide pact between the two. Both left notes in the cab of the pickup truck where they were found.
The two teenagers were identified as Myranda Becton, 15 and Dylan Kennedy, 16.
Dylan left a note referring to Romeo and Juliet, and several other notes trying to convey why they were doing what they were doing.
We have all read the statistics and articles about teen suicide, indeed we have seen it in our communities. There is even a website dedicated to the subject, and it offers warning signs to watch for. The problem I see with the warning signs is that every normal teenager displays these described behaviors at some point. But that is not what this is about.
From what I hear, Myranda and Dylan both had loving, caring families.
I know that right now these families are going through shock, intense grief and denial. It is hard to lose any family member to any cause, but it is harder to lose someone to suicide.
You can understand if someone is killed in an accident, or if they suffer from an illness and die. You still miss them with all of your heart, but you understand what happened to them.
Families of people who die by their own hand never, ever understand why.
In June of 1968 I turned 21, typically ready to take on the world. In June of 1968 my oldest brother killed himself. Forty two years later I am still asking myself why, and what I could have done to help him.
I visited with him the night before he died. We were watching the news at his house, Robert Kennedy had been assassinated and the reporters were conjecturing on funeral plans and arrangements. My brother turned to me and said “When I die, just put me in a pine box and bury me. There is no need to go to any trouble.”
Was that a sign? In retrospect, certainly. Did I have a clue? No.
He was 33 years old and left behind a wife and three children.
I am writing this because I know what these families are going through, and what they will go through for the rest of their lives. After 42 years, sitting down to write this, it feels as if I have been stabbed in the heart.
It never goes away, and it will be worse for the parents of these children than it has been for me. My mother lived to within 3 months of her 90th birthday, and never was the same person. She would barely talk about my brother, and she fiercely repressed those memories. We knew that it was that painful for her.
When she was on her deathbed with cancer eating up her tiny body, I knew that she was between worlds. She was in a lot of pain.
When I took her hand and asked her if she knew who I was, she gave me the sweetest smile and said ‘yes’, and called me by my brothers name.
And that was okay.
If you are a praying person, please pray for these families. They need all the love and support they can receive right now, and they will need immeasurable strength in the future.