There are many people who feel small towns are the best to raise a family. Many parents want to take their kids out of the rat race of a large city filled with crime, drugs, traffic, and so on. Well, I guess that all depends on where the small town is actually.
Living inside a mobile home park is nothing like living in a housing track. Mobile home parks, well you typically see much of the crime happening more so than you would a simple housing track. Don't ask me why, but you do. Well, I like many of the million American's thought that small town living would be the best. So, I sold the mobile home, sold everything I had and I mean everything! Packed up the girls and off we went to live in this small town of Vancouver, Washington.
One must remember, small town living you see much more than you would in a large city. Larger cities are able to hide most of the crime. You don't see the drug deals and the people committing the crimes well, except for on the news. In larger cities we tend to get caught up in the traffic, the people around us, our jobs, our home life, so seeing drug activity or drugs being made and sold is something we just don't really see.
Once we landed on Vancouver, I quickly new that this was the worst idea I think ever had. In small towns kids already have their "clicks" and those clicks pretty much are non-excepting of new kids often making those kids feeling like an outcast. The house wives were non-excepting of new comers such as myself. Trust me I tried to make friends in this small town and with every friendly hello I gave I was given a sour look from many of the wives. Every where I went I was always told, "you must not be from around this neck of the woods."
Sara was struggling with the high school she was at, Sela was struggling with making new friends and no matter how hard these two girls tried, they came home each day complaining how they hate the small town vibe.
I also learned rather quickly that either the men and women of this town were either going to rehab or getting out of rehab, going to jail or either getting out of jail. Meth was the chosen drug of this small town and it seemed as if everyone knew how to make it, get it, and sell it.
The homeless rate in this small town is far greater than a home filled with family and loved ones. Just about every single corner within this town there stands a homeless person with a sign begging for money, money that will be used for their drug addiction or alcohol or even both.
The small Walmart down the street from me was the only small store in our town and when I went there I saw so many used old needles scattered through out the parking lot. I saw cough syrup bottles of plenty filled in trash cans because there is some part of the syrup that is used in the concoction of meth itself.
With in Months
A couple months after moving here Sara came home from her high school telling me that two of the teachers were arrested for selling grades for drugs. Then a week later another teacher was arrested for sexual misconduct with a teen.
A week later Sara also came home with a letter from the high school announcing how a teen boy killed himself due to bullying. I'll be honest, I never gave it a second thought. I think I even told Sara, "oh well, that's to bad."
Then there was another letter, then another, then another, and yet another all within six months of each other. Each day it just seemed to be a struggle for Sara to get up and go to school. We had begun to fight about her attending school and her looks and vibe that she gave me, well, it was very apparent she was clearly hating me and falling into a depression. Sara's grades were falling faster than rocks sliding down a mountain side.
With the last letter I had received of yet another teen suicide by hanging himself there was a mandatory letter telling the parents we must attend a school meeting. If we did not choose to attend our child would be subject to disciplinary actions from the school. The letter also said in bold big black letters, "NO TEENS ALLOWED"
So, to have Sara not get any actions taken upon her, I attended the meeting by myself while Sara stayed behind to watch Sela. The parking lot was full of cars, some parents were bringing food, some flowers, some even had cards in their hands. Me, I went in empty handed I never thought to bring anything because I had yet to actually make friends with anyone.
Once I was inside, I felt the somber feeling from many of the other parents. The tension was so thick it could have suffocated a rat desperately seeking air to breathe. Hugs were going around the entire room while many of the wives wiped tears from their faces. I made my way to find a chair and once seated I tried to make conversation with another mother sitting next to me and still, nothing from her.
So, I just sat and chose to listen instead. The school had the pictures of the multiple teens mixed with boys and girls who had recently passed from suicide splattered in large size for all the world to see. It then dawned on me, this is a serious thing. For some reason, for some instant, I was thankful I never had to go through this, I was thankful I had well rounded kids who never would ever think about this.
(Boy, was I wrong, I never thought my precious Sela would ever want to tell me she wanted to commit suicide!)
The subject was bullying and how to take a hold of it and stop it from happening. I remember how I chuckled under my breath wondering just how this school, a school where teachers were flipping drugs for grades or teachers banging female students in the janitorial closet, how they planned on stopping this.
I did grab the attention of many of the parents who were seated around me turned and gave me a look of distain and anger wondering what I thought was so funny. Well, my piss and vinegar came out. The principle of course zoned in on me asking me what I find so funny.
So, I told him..
"Well, it's not that it's a funny subject but you stand up there on that stage wondering how your going to get the bullying to stop yet you have teachers getting arrested for drugs or having sex with teens. I mean who is to say that those pictures up there those kids now gone were not bullied by the teachers?"
The room went dead silent. All eyes were upon me and if two people had guns on them, I would be dead.
The principle a young man who thought he had control of the room was now losing control because of what I said. Some of the parents began to shout back at the principle how I was right. So, I stood up and continued.
"Here I am a mother who turns on the news and then finds out two of your teachers were arrested for drugs in exchange for grades, whose to say they were not bullying kids? Isn't that a form of bullying? Then you have a teacher arrested for sex with a minor in a janitorial closet, whose to say he wasn't bullying her, sex for grades?"
The room went entirely out of control. I couldn't help but notice the families of these kids who are no longer alive began to wonder, did that happen, did the teachers threaten the students they will fail them if they don't produce drugs for the teachers.?
Was I right? No one would ever know but once I saw the impact this had on the families, I knew they were suffering a great loss. Parents are not supposed to bury their babies, their babies are supposed to bury the parents.
Due to Sara's actions and hating school so badly I panicked, was she getting bullied, did she hate school so much because she was also part of the bullying actions going on within this school. The principal had ideas of how to "tame the bullying" well, you do not tame bullying.
That night I went home and directly asked Sara if she was being bullied at school. Well, she told me that many of the football players would grab her breast and squeeze them asking if they are "real" due to her breast size. Sara never returned to that school and when they asked why, I told them why and they never looked into it, they never questioned anyone, they never suspended anyone and Sara had the names of the guys that did this.
So much for that school meeting of how to stop this!
You can sit and type in how to stop bullying through out the internet and you will come up with thousands and thousands of pages on how to stop it. One click will lead to another click, and another, and another. I could be on the internet all day long clicking and clicking on how to stop this.
Not Just One Person
When a family member loses a child due to suicide, it affects everyone from neighbors to schools, it is not a singled out death that only affects the parents. It affects the friends now suffering the loss of another. The friends must adapt to no longer seeing that person who is now gone.
The friends must learn to go on, the friends left behind need to mend their broken hearts and they like Sela my daughter will always wonder if there was something she could have done to save Jill, Justin, Amber, and Chance those that chose to end their lives by hanging themselves in their closets.
She has become angry for not seeing the signs, she is angry at herself for not helping, she is angry that the four now gone never reached out for help.
- Do you know the signs before someone wants to end their life?
- Would you know what to do?
- Does calling the police really help or make it worse?
- Would you know what to say?
- How would you react?
- Would you threaten your child if they came to you and said they wanted to end their life?
- Would you panic?
- Would you yell?
- Would you cry?
What would you do?