My oldest son Zach told me about a story of Internet bullying this evening. It was a story of a young man in high school that had been a victim of Internet bullying, tragically it lead to his suicide. He had kept this abuse hidden from his family and apparently his friends. For they too were not aware that it was troubling him so deeply. One evening his parents found him hung in his room. His tragic story now a topic of discussion on line. My heart ached at the thought of someone feeling so alone that they would end their life over words from someone they hardly new. I could not even imagine as a parent what the pain would be like to loose a child that way. It appeared this young man had not been a loner. He had friends, hobbies a family but, something touched him that know one else saw. Zach had brought another question to mind. If you have positives in your life, how can a person just let go for something negative. I could not let that thought go. It echoed in my mind.
While tucking my two youngest sons in bed I kept thinking back to this story. I leaned in to gently kiss Josiah good night. It felt good knowing he was safe here with me. I walked over to Cody to give him a kiss he beamed "I love You mom". My beautiful sons were all home safe, appearing to be happy, the way it should be. I had to take a peek into Zach's room he too was home safe, playing xbox.
As parents we try so desperately to protect our young from harm. For most of us it is just natural instinct, never requiring a second thought. With my own three sons I have played the over protective parent many times, even though it may not have always made me very popular. We've had many conversations about bad people. More times than I can count I have questioned them regarding abuse of any kind. I thought for a moment, does that fear ever go away for a parent? The fear that their child could become a victim to some evil act. With so much pain already in the world how do we combat the unseen villan?
Having two sons terminally ill, I have always carried a fear of my sons being bullied. Growing up I can remember my brothers who also had the same disease as my sons, being brought to tears as they became the target for a bully. Angered by their pain of being bullied and made fun of I wanted to search for the bully and confront him. I was not successful at avenging my brothers very often. It did feel very good though when I began to date, to let a few neighborhood bullies know I had not forgotten how they treated my brothers. While I was referred to as a hottie a date with me would not ever be possible. I wonder what makes some of us stronger than others? What makes our skin thicker than that of someone else? Could there ever really be an end to bullying?
I have spent countless hours looking at the differences and similarities of my sons lives to that of my brothers. While my sons are growing up in a single parent home unlike my brothers we do have a loving support system with my sisters and their families. Living in a time where we do not tolerate discrimination has certainly played a significant role of how my sons are treated too. However the bully still exist and he has more tools than before. I can not claim my sons have never been bullied. I can claim I am not afraid to do what it takes to confront or stop a bully. How can we really measure though the damage that hurt has caused?
Living with something that makes us different from every one else such as a crippling disease often makes one an easy target to be bullied. The bully whom ever he may be looks for a way in to make himself feel better. How do we get past the bullying?
My heart goes out to all the victims of a bully. If I could give you one thing I would want you to know that you are loved. The thoughts of one loser does not define who you are. Find that positive point in your life, run to it hang on to it, let it give you purpose and strength. Never be afraid to share your pain after all love can heal.