I woke up yesterday and did my every day morning routine. Get up, make coffee, play some games on Facebook, and then get ready for work. Once I am ready, I go in and kiss my precious daughter goodbye.
I deal with an array of customers each and every day. As I place my hand on their purchases, I can hear the strong beep of my scanner I look up and smile and love to engage in conversations with them.
Yet there was this one lady, this one single lady that looked as if she was just hallow. Her eyes deeply saddened, her face motionless, there was no smile, there was no life.
I could tell that she has been crying, I could tell she is riddled with pain. Her shoulders are carrying the weight of the world and it appears if someone came up and just blew a soft whisper of wind from their lips she would fall over and crash to the floor.
I secretly gasp in horror from how this strange woman looks. I wonder how someone like me can wake up each and every day, come to work with a smile on my face, engage in conversations filled with laughter, and yet this lone woman who stands in my line seems as if life just stopped for her.
Her arms are filled with plastic white table cloths, black napkins, plastic forks along wit plastic cups which for her appear to be a thousand pounds. Her black coat drips from the never ending rain outside, her hair dark brown hair which shares space with hints of grey is disheveled, the deep black circles under her eyes are a dead give away she is suffering from pure exhaustion.
As she places her items on the conveyer belt she approaches me and then gazes at me. Her expression on her sadden face just screams, "HELP ME, HELP ME FIND MY WAY."
I cannot stand to see such a sadden woman through my line so I reach out and touch her hand giving it a tender loving squeeze and that is where she loses it. She begins to weep uncontrollably, her shoulders once hunched over are even more hunched over then ever. I quickly walk around to her and take her in my arms pulling her close to me holding her tightly.
My boss comes quickly to my aid taking over the other customers in line who of course are watching me with this woman I have no idea who she is. I do not know her name, her age, where she lives, I just know she is suffering such great pain. As I hold her she whispers something I do not understand and I desperately try to puzzle her words together to make a sentence.
The strange woman continues whispering her pain and then suddenly, it hits me. Yes, it hits me like a train going a thousand miles per hour slamming into my body head on. I gasp at her words, this could be me.
Her son, a fourteen-year-old boy committed suicide just two days ago by hanging himself in his closet. Like all parents that find their small loved child, she is no different. She went to his room to wake him for school and realized he was not in his bed. There was a sign on his closet door that read;
"I'M SORRY MOM, I COULD NO LONGER SUFFER THE PAIN, THE PAIN IS GONE"
She shares how he was bullied, how he was tormented by others since fifth grade. Now a student in high school, the tormenting got worse. The strange woman wept while talking to me telling me;
"I tried to do something about it, I tried to save him, I tried, I begged for help, but the school blamed my son."
Standing before me now is the store manager looking at me puzzled at what was happening. I looked at him with my sad eyes whispering, "her son just killed himself." Two of the best managers I have ever had, two managers who stood by me when I presented to them I could not make it to work because my daughter told me that suicide was an option for her understand strangely enough what she is going through because of me.
I didn't know what to say, I didn't know what to think but I do know that anger set in, anger took over my mind and wondered when is this going to stop. When is someone going to stand by the person being bullied other than the parents?
Why didn't her son's school do something to help him? Why did they blame him? The strange lady continued to sob in my arms while she shared how her son was rejected from the football team, rejected from the basketball team, he was out casted because he was smart, he was intelligent, he was what many teens call a "NERD" he was tormented and made fun of.
Through the conversation, she told me that her son's school took the side of the football players because they were "star players" likewise with the basketball team. The school labeled her son as "defiant" yet the football players/basketball players were the one's teasing and tormenting her son.
How is this mother ever going to find her way back? How is this mother ever going to live a normal life again knowing she must bury her son. Parents are not supposed to bury their children. Children are supposed to bury their parents!
After she wept in my arms for almost twenty-minutes a man appeared in front of me taking her in his arms. He was her husband, a man who had to be strong, who had to keep his wife together yet was struggling with his own pain. Their world now completely turned upside down.
A world they wished never graced their presence. Through time, suffering, counseling, and hopefully some peace they will continue to live. We all do, we all at sometime do bury our loved ones because that's life. Someone once told me;
"We are not Benjamin Button, we are not born old and then die young, we are born young and die old"
As I fight the fight each and every day helping my daughter through her pain, through feeling rejected, how I struggle each and every day to find the words that tell her how special she is, how loved she is, how valuable she is to me, does it all matter to her?
Does it make an impact on her life? Why do parents have to remove their children from public schools to home schooling because of the bullies in their lives yet no one comes to the rescue of the one being bullied?
Would I be deemed a bully by saying, "I pray to God that these football players & basketball players along with all the others who tormented him walk in the shadow of this young man who killed himself because of them. I hope they carry his death in their hands and their minds. Do they even care that he is now gone because of them?"
This is one of the most hardest and most uncomfortable topics to ever discuss, share or mention. Many want to avoid it, many want to bury their heads in the sand hoping and praying it will go away.
I do not know this woman's name, I do not know where she lives, but I do know, her life and her husband's life and all the others who loved this boy, their lives will be altered forever!