A boy named Ty

Facebook tells me this is the end of Suicide Prevention month. I’ve been so busy promoting Blood Cancer Awareness month on Facebook I almost wasn’t aware. Thankfully, that’s what social media is for. Here are a few jumbled thoughts regarding that other cause.

When I was 15 a classmate in my ward committed suicide. Let’s call him Ty. I still remember the last time I saw him. We were at a midnight showing of a movie. This was before they became a regular thing. He was with his group of friends and I was with mine.   Our circles didn’t mix. Ty was a good looking boy and when he first moved to town I had a crush on him. But that’s as far as it went. Again, our circles didn’t mix. When he didn’t reciprocate my attraction for him I set up my defenses by calling him a jerk. That may or may not have been true. More than likely, I had to find some excuse why he didn’t ask me for a date. Or associate with me. Did I mention our circles didn’t mix?

It’s been 27 years and I still remember that last glimpse of him. My last mumbling when I called him a jerk under my breath. Within 12 hours, he was gone.

Do you realize how much living occurs in 27 years? He never experienced the joy of graduation day. He missed out on serving a mission and seeing the gospel change peoples’ lives. I wonder if the gospel ever changed his heart?

There were no career choices to make. No college experience. No first job initiation. No struggling to make ends meet. No tithing testimony stories. No Spaghettios and toast for an endless stream of dinners. No first apartments too small to change one’s mind in. No first car clunkers. No roommates that at first drive him crazy and then somehow, somewhere become his best friend. No tiny apartments filled with friends playing games.

No true love. No commitment of eternity. No seeing forever when he looked into his child’s eyes for the first time. No stories of awkwardness that always produce laughter when told years later. No fights with children. No making up with his wife. No being nervous when his daughter goes on her first date.

No holding his mom’s hand for the last time and whispering good bye. No chance to tell his father he forgave him for being bull headed. No asking for forgiveness for all the pain he caused.

Nothing.

He missed it all.

Life is a roller coaster with peaks and dips. Fast turns and sometimes a crawling speed. But it’s our roller coaster. It’s messy, difficult, tiring, burdensome, lovely, complicated, humorous, joyful, and so much more. It’s ours. It’s our gift. It keeps moving. Here’s the little secret: we control the speed of the ride. If we don’t like the course, change it. Hop on a new track. Just don’t stop the ride.

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