Saturday, June 23, 2012

Life is muddy

This morning I spent a few hours with hundreds and hundreds of "Fighting Zebras". Lincoln high's mascot is a fighting zebra, and everyone who has ever been associated with the school consideres themselves a zebra. Our town is very proud of our stripes, and those who "wear" them. Even those who have never been to Lincoln were, as the high school principal said, considered an honorary zebra this morning. As a smaller community, we are very tight knit. When a tragedy strikes one, it strikes us all. I wish I could say that tragedy has never hit the high school, but sadly it has...over and over and over again. It seems that in the 11 years that I've lived here, there has been at least one teenager almost every year who has lost their life. Each of those were a tremendous tragedy and loss, and we will mourn them forever. In the last year however, our community has felt some unspeakable tragedies. Three young men from our town, took their lives over a course of just a few months.

The heartbreak that is still felt by those who knew them, know their parents, know these young men's stories, or maybe just knowing a young person like them, is palpable. Reading the walls on facebook is gutwrenching beyond belief.

What is even more unbelievable, is what the families of Aldo, Jake and Travis have done. Suicide means that the family and friends are left with unanswered questions-not only about why, but what was life going to hold for that special person down the road. As one of the mom's said today, the family's future was taken away. Because of these families' bravery and courage, they took their personal nightmares, unselfishly shared them with the community, and are not afraid to do whatever it takes to keep another family from having to endure this type of pain. After speaking with so many people today, I came to realize that almost every person I spoke with loves someone who committed suicide.

Before the mud run started today, each of the families spoke a few words. As I looked out into the crowd, there wasn't one person who could hide their feelings. Maybe not everyone cried, but the raw emotion that I could see on each and every face, proved to me that these families were making their message clear...suicide does not have to happen, and there are ways to fight the private demons that one feels when they are on the edge of that cliff.

As I stood there today, I know we each took a private oath that we will do everything humanly possible to reach out to anyone we feel may be contemplating this horrific path...but especially the young people.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank these families for stopping at least one person from taking his or her life-I don't know who that person is, but I know for absolute certainty that someone heard their message, today. I also know with certainty, that Aldo, Jake and Travis are absolutely beaming with pride, and thanking God for allowing their parents to make such a mark on this town, and the world!

As sad, yet inspirational, as the opening ceremonies were, we also had FUN. I don't think I need to say much about a mud run, so I'll let the photos and slideshow do the talking!


Jennifer said...

Very well written. It was an emotional day for the families and loved ones of these 3 young started out with tears of sadness but ended with tears of joy.

Anonymous said...

Debbie , Thank you for the very kind words on your home page, It was a huge under taking for all of us. I am so glad that everybody enjoyed themselves today. And yes we would love to do this every year and help the schools out with some nice programs. I am with you, we have lived in lincoln since 1996 and yes it seems like once a year we lose a young person, to accident, suicide or something else. hopefully our young people in our little community stick together and maybe we can prevent some of this never happening again. Thank you so much. Jim,Tina ,Samantha and Erin Whalen

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