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Let's work together against bullying and help bring the teen suicide rate down to zero

Posts Tagged ‘Death

12-Year-Old Clifford Rodriques Dead by Suicide in New Bedford

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This in my third article in just over 17 hours, and all three were dealing with another preventable loss of a young life.  On Monday, January 31st, Clifford Rodriques died by suicide.  It remains a mystery as to the why of this case.  Police investigation is ongoing.

I don’t think I need to state anymore the state of emergency that we are in.  Talking about it isn’t changing anything.  Well, it is.  It’s making us more and more angry.  And, that’s not a bad thing at all.  Perhaps, we can begin turning the anger into positive action.  No longer can we wait for somebody else to initiate the change.  Each and every one of us has to do our part, to the best of our ability, to prevent this from continuing.  Sometimes, simple steps go a long way:

  • know the warning signs.  I can’t emphasize enough how important that is.
  • Talk to your son, daughter, sister, brother, or friend, if they appear to be in distress.  More importantly, listen carefully to what they’re saying.
  • Don’t hesitate to get the proper authorities involved.
  • Have resources readily available if you know of someone who’s voicing suicidal ideation.
  • Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook isn’t just about the LGBT community.  They’re touching, and saving many lives.  They have a wonderful section on suicide support on their website.  Use it.
  • Keep this link handy: Befrienders Worldwide.
  • And, definitely have this number readily available:  1-800-273-TALK (8255)  That is the number for the national suicide prevent lifeline.  They have a website as well as a facebook page.

Being highly involved, sadly, won’t save Clifford Rodriques’ life.  However, being highly involved will go a long way towards ending this maddening cycle of teen suicides.  I hope I’m able to see it within my own lifetime.

Written by Ron Kemp

February 3, 2012 at 2:26 am

How to Watch Your Brother Die

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I started this blog in November in direct response to Jamie Hubley’s suicide in October.  Those of you who have been reading it for a while are aware as I mention him frequently.  So, I wanted to take time out to say how honored I am to have a member of his family join in as one of the blogs’ followers today.  You know who you are.  Thank you for following.

If you haven’t already “liked” Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook, go do it now!  You don’t have to be gay to be a part of the most positive, informative page facebook has to offer.  The only prerequisite is that you have a burning desire to see equality for every human being and to be a part of an army of people “enlisted” to work towards that end.

I read today something from Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook that I had to share with everyone.  If you go to the page, you can find it and other very moving reads in the “notes” section.  This letter moved me:

How To Watch Your Brother Die

When the call comes, be calm.
Say to your wife, “My brother is dying. I have to fly to California.”
Try not to be shocked that he already looks like a cadaver.
Say to the young man sitting by your brother’s side, “I’m his brother,”
Try not to be shocked when the young man says,
“I’m his lover. Thanks for coming.”

Listen to the doctor with a steel face on.
Sign the necessary forms.
Tell the doctor you will take care of everything.
Wonder why doctors are so remote.

Watch the lover’s eyes as they stare into your brother’s eyes as they stare into space.
Wonder what they see there.
Remember the time he was jealous and opened your eyebrow with a sharp stick.
Forgive him out loud even if he can’t understand you.
Realize the scar will be all that’s left of him.

Over coffee in the hospital cafeteria say to the lover, “You’re an extremely good-looking young man.”
Hear him say,
“I never thought I was good looking enough to deserve your brother.”
Watch the tears well up in his eyes. Say,
“I’m sorry. I don’t know what it means to be the lover of another man.”
Hear him say,
“It’s just like a wife, only the commitment is deeper because the odds against you are so much greater.”
Say nothing, but take his hand like a brother’s.

Drive to Mexico for unproven drugs that might help him live longer.
Explain what they are to the border guard.
Fill with rage when he informs you,
“You can’t bring those across.”
Begin to grow loud.
Feel the lover’s hand on your arm, restraining you. See in the guard’s eye how much a man can hate another man.
Say to the lover, “How can you stand it?”
Hear him say, “You get used to it.”
Think of one of your children getting used to another man’s hatred.

Call your wife on the telephone. Tell her,
“He hasn’t much time.
I’ll be home soon.” Before you hang up say,
“How could anyone’s commitment be deeper than a husband and wife?” hear her say,
“Please, I don’t want to know all the details.”

When he slips into an irrevocable coma, hold his lover in your arms while he sobs, no longer strong. Wonder how much longer you will be able to be strong.
Feel how it feels to hold a man in your arms whose arms are used to holding men.
Offer God anything to bring your brother back.
Know you have nothing God could possibly want.
Curse God, but do not abandon Him.

Stare at the face of the funeral director when he tells you he will not embalm the body for fear of contamination. Let him see in your eyes how much a man can hate another man.
Stand beside a casket covered in flowers, white flowers.
Say, “Thank you for coming” to each of several hundred men who file past in tears, some of them holding hands.
Know that your brother’s life was not what you imagined.
Overhear two mourners say, “I wonder who’ll be next.”

Arrange to take an early flight home.
His lover will drive you to the airport.
When your flight is announced say, awkwardly, “If I can do anything, please let me know.”
Do not flinch when he says,
“Forgive yourself for not wanting to know him after he told you. He did.”
Stop and let it soak in. Say,
“He forgave me, or he knew himself?”
“Both”, the lover will say, not knowing what else to do. Hold him like a brother while he kisses you on the cheek. Think that you haven’t been kissed by a man since your father died. Think,

“This is no moment not to be strong.” Fly first class and drink scotch. Stroke your split eyebrow with a finger and think of your brother alive.
Smile at the memory and think how your children will feel in your arms, warm and friendly and without challenge.

~Michael Lassell.

Before it’s too late, while you can still do it, if you know someone who is LGBT, whether it’s a family member, friend, or co-worker, let them know that it’s okay to be gay.  Let them know that you accept them completely just for who they are.  Let them know that they are beautiful human beings just as they are.  The world is changing.  Be a part of that change.

Written by Ron Kemp

January 19, 2012 at 4:39 am

Ottawa Loses Another 15-Year-Old to Suicide

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I saw this video posted on a memorial page for another 15-year-old Ottawan who just recently committed suicide. I didn’t want to watch it at first, hoping that it was just an old video that I’d missed. That’s the effect so many suicides is having on me. Alas, I was wrong.

On Wednesday, December 28th, 15-year-old Ian Stone ended his life. There are no details about it, so we won’t read anything into it. No mention of being bullied. No mention of having issues because of his sexuality. No answers. The only answer needed right now is that the family and friends of this 15-year-old are in a lot of grief. I wish I could post a link for you to go pay your condolences. That’s not the case.

If there’s a silver lining to this recent spate of suicides, it’s that people are seriously, and finally, getting fed up of reading about these. Hearing about these. And, people are rolling up their sleeves and getting involved. They’re getting involved at the ground level, where it’s needed the most. Young people are volunteering their time to their peers who may be at-risk and in need. Multiple support groups are popping up daily, if not faster, on the online social networks. Some are blogging about it. People are getting involved in great numbers. Obviously, we need more.

For now, we send our condolences to the family and friends of Ian Stone as we say goodbye. And, we say, collectively, Rest in Peace to one more young soul we never knew but will never forget. Then, we vow to him, and to all of the other teen suicide victims before him, that we’ll never give up fighting to make things change. We’ll never stop until teenaged suicide is a thing of the past.

Written by Ron Kemp

January 2, 2012 at 2:55 am

My Own Suicide Attempt(s)

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I was talking with a friend last night when he confided that he’d attempted suicide back when he was a younger man.  That prompted me to confide in him, as well, that I had also attempted suicide…several times.  He was quite surprised to learn that.  Until that revelation, he thought that I was “…just an observer.”  No, Scott, I’m not just an observer.  I’ve got a personal stake in this battle.  Two, actually.  I was brutally beaten in a gay bashing at age 12, too.  So, I know where I’m coming from with these writings.  I’ve been there, done that.  And, I’ve lived to tell about it…to try to help others who are struggling.  See, according to my doctors at the time, I shouldn’t even be here right now.  I was, according to them, only supposed to leave that hospital on a slab with a toe tag.  I’m so glad, now, that they gave my family bad information.

The 80s were a tumultuous time for me, to put it mildly.  I should’ve known that it was going to be a long decade when my closest friend, at that time, was violently snatched away from me on a cold February night.  Got out of my car at 6; gone forever by 7.  It took me until just within the past year to be able to put that in its proper place and move on.  A part of me died that day, as well.graphic reminder

The middle 80s were not so pretty, either.  I lost my mother in 1984.  From there, things just spiraled straight downward.  The summer of ’85, well let’s just say that I wouldn’t wish that on anyone!  So, I’d reached my breaking point.  The only way I could see to end the decade-long pain and hurt was to check out. I saw no reason whatsoever for me to stay on this planet.  However, I’ve always been a pretty smart guy, I guess.  I knew that I didn’t want to make some half-ass attempt and end up in ICU at a local hospital.  That would only make things ten times worse.  No.  I had to make sure that the attempt was thorough enough to not be an attempt, but a success.

I called the local Poison Control Center.  Feigning distress over “my friend” who had just taken a whole bottle of pills and was passed out, I was able to learn from the person on the other end that my “friend”, who just happened to be the exact same size as myself, hadn’t taken enough to kill “him”.  “However, you should get him to a hospital as soon as possible so they can pump his stomach.”  I also was able to find out that, for a person “his” size, it would take TWICE the amount that “he’d” taken.  Bingo!  So, I hung up, went to the store and bought the second bottle of pills.  ICU was NOT an option.  Two days later, I woke up, indeed in ICU.  My family was told that there was “…no way [I’d] make it through this…”, that I “had enough poison in [me] to kill a horse.”  God had other plans.

The second attempt was just a couple of weeks later.  I bought even more pills to go along with the amount that was supposed to be lethal in the first place!  Same results.

Now very determined, I made my third attempt.  I took a tie, made a noose, went to the closet to die.  The tie broke.  I regained consciousness on the closet floor.

Drowning myself didn’t work, either.  Attempting to fill ones lungs with water is quite painful, indeed.  I aborted that one very quickly.

My fifth and final attempt was something I’d seen on television and in movies that was guaranteed to work.  I found myself a syringe and shot an air ball into my veins.  Nothing.  I shot again.  Same results.  And, a third time.  All that came from that was a badly bruised and painful arm.  And, that’s when it dawned on me:  God’s in control.  I accepted that it just wasn’t my time to leave here, that there was something(s) left for me to do.  So, I surrendered.  I didn’t know WHAT it was that I was supposed to do, or learn, or whatever.  I only knew, without a doubt, that I should’ve been dead several times over.  But, I wasn’t.  And, I’m not.

I worked my way through all of the troubles that were mounted before me a little bit at a time.  Not very long after my final suicide attempt, I saw someone who inspired me to pick up a guitar and learn to play it.  That evolved into me eventually releasing my first CD, “Better Late Than Never”, which is now being listened to around the world.  I’m currently working on a second CD, with a third one to be recorded with my band shortly thereafter.

But, that wasn’t enough.  That was something that was part of the bigger picture, the book that would be my life, but it wasn’t enough.  There was something more I was supposed to be doing.

I’ve always been a writer.  Poems and short stories from an early age; lyrics as I grew older.  And, my writing has always gotten attention.

I’ve always been greatly concerned about the issue of gay teen suicide.  It’s nothing new to me.  I’d seen it as a younger man.  Of course, it was never listed as a “gay teen suicide”.  Wrong era for that.  But, I could tell.  I could read between the carefully crafted lines of the news article and be able to see that our community had lost yet another one.  I started writing about it in some of the songs I would write.  No one outside of my fan base really paid attention to them.

In October of this year, something happened that changed my life forever.  I found my true voice!  I found out why He didn’t take me away when I so desperately wanted to, and tried to!, 26 years ago.  Sadly, it took the suicide of Jamie Hubley, a gay youth whom I never knew, to awaken me to my true purpose here:  to use my voice, through my writing, to try and save some lives.  To be on the frontline in this army to bring about change.

I’ve learned a lot through this journey.  I’ve learned that I’m not going to reach everybody.  For all of my efforts, somewhere in the world we’ve lost another one since I started writing this entry.  I’ve learned that the buzzword for today’s gay youth really is true:  It DOES Get Better.  We just have to allow ourselves time to live it.  I’ve learned that life isn’t always fair.  It can be awful brutal at time.  But, it’s a spectacular ride.

Written by Ron Kemp

December 11, 2011 at 8:36 am

Prayers for Brittany and Roger

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I want to thank every one of you who rose to the occasion last night in attempt to save a young life.(blog entry “AN URGENT CALL TO ACTION”)  I don’t know where this young man lives other than in the US.  I’ve sent him links for help, my own contact information, and prayers.  Many of you did, too.  Let’s hope for the best.

And, as I’m sure you know, there’s always more to do.  Fourteen year old Brittany needs your prayers.  The facebook posting that I saw said that she’s in ICU after attempting suicide today.  We need to send lots of prayers her way.  And, yes, she was yet another victim of bullying, but we’ll get to that later.  For now, let’s send lots and lots of prayers and hope she pulls out of this first.

Lastly, and sadly, we lost a crusader in the war against bullying.  Roger Crouch, whose son, Dominic, committed suicide in May of 2010, passed away tonight.  In loving memory and honor of his son, Roger worked hard to bring about changes that would hopefully help prevent other teens from going through what Dom endured.  His efforts reached around the globe, and he will be missed.  I’m sure his family would love to hear your words of support.  R.I.P. Roger Crouch.

A Day of Rest (Updated)

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Today, and everyday, give thanks for what you have in your life…especially your loved ones.

I’m actually doing something today that I very seldom get the chance to do:  nothing at all.  It’s my day of rest.  In just about an hour or so, I will be well-rested with a big, full belly.

I wish that the dilemma of teen suicide, gay teen suicide, and suicide in general could take the day off, as well.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  In fact, suicides tend to increase during the Holiday Season, which is now upon us.  Unfortunately, depression, the feeling of isolation, and all of the other native causes of suicide doesn’t take the day off.  As we gather with our families and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, let’s also remember the families and friends of those who have left this world through their own actions.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, everyone!!

UPDATE:


It was quickly brought to my attention that suicides actually DON’T increase during the holidays, that it’s just a long-held myth.  I stand corrected.  In fact, suicides tend to lower in December.  Sorry for the misinformation.  I, too, fell for the myth.  Thank you, Barb, for the correction.

Teen Admits Killing Gay Classmate

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Ok, so a teenaged straight kid gets hit on by a teenaged gay kid.  It’s pretty safe to say that it happens everywhere, everyday.  The straight kid doesn’t like being hit on by the gay kid.  More often than not, that happens everywhere, everyday as well.  The straight kid goes to school and EXECUTES the gay kid for the “unwanted advances”. (a bullet to the back of the head and one while the gay kid lay on the floor constitutes an execution in my book)  Two days later, Larry King died of his injuries inflicted by Brandon McInerney.  I think it’s hardly fair that Brandon’s family will get him back in their lives in roughly 20 more years.  Larry’s family will never have that joy again.  At least this bring a sense of closure to one of the more horrific cases in recent memory.

Written by Ron Kemp

November 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm