Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Small Town Woes - in a small town, chances are you will actually know some of the people who make catastrophic life changing choices, We raised 4 kids here and I was an active volunteer in the schools while they attended. Thus I know many of the young people that my guys went to school and played sports with. Some of them still remember me too.
The high school averages 70 - 90 kids per grade. Of those 8 - 10 young ladies get pregnant while still in high school. Several will have 2 - 3 kids before their 24th birthday (possibly with several different guys). 10 - 15 will die in car accidents (possibly while impaired), and a couple more will die violent deaths due to involvement with drugs and/or criminal activities. All before they reach the tender age of 25.
Right now, family and friends are searching for a 24 year old young man who made a catastrophic decision last night. If they can find him, if he's OK (alive), his life will still be a mess that he can't fix. It's very likely he will never be allowed to see the daughter he was so proud of a year ago when she was born, or the 2 girls he has been a father to since their Dad, his best friend, was killed in a car wreck with the BF's brother (driving drunk). The mother of his child is one of those young ladies (3 kids and barely 25 herself). The kids will have lost 2 Dads before age 8.
I knew this young man from about 4 years old. He was a sweet, inventive and creative child, very active and graceful. He and my 3rd DS were good friends and he frequented my home throughout elementary school. He started to drift with the 'wrong' crowd in middle school and my DS made the tough decision not to follow. Of his 'wrong' friends, who went through court-ordered substance counseling in 8th grade, 1 nearly died of alcohol poisoning, 1 was found dead in the river (under suspicious circumstances), 2 developed schizophrenia provoked or brought to light by drug use, the rest are involved in marijuana production (legal here now).
Last night was the dead BF's birthday. Survivor guilt? Impostor guilt? Grief? Whatever the reason, this young man clearly lacks appropriate coping skills. The 8th grade counseling was a joke and never amounted to much more than a sign-off for the legal system. It seems he goes off the rails every year around this date. The mother of his child has seen more than her share of sorrow and loss (her older sister was an auto accident fatality in high school - 2 days before graduation) she will not want to take him back (he returned from 'partying' to their shared home about 7 AM shooting off a firearm recklessly and ramming her car with the children inside with his own to keep her from leaving). He then took off and was in the wind until his mother got a tip that he was 'in a bad way' under one of the bridges that span the river. One can hope they find him and get him the help he desperately needs.
My heart hurts for the child I knew, for the proud young Dad he was just a year ago, for the young man that seemed to be turning his life around to become a father that 3 young girls needed. It also makes me appreciate that my DS made better choices and is in a completely different place: college graduate, gainfully employed, and newly married to a wonderful young woman, not in a hurry to have children. Upright, responsible, thoughtful, considerate, steady; a son to be proud of. There were '2 roads diverged in a yellow wood' and it seems my DS took the one less traveled by in this small town.
Wishing you bright times. Appreciate the good choices you make today, it matters more than you may realize!
Peace and Care