This past week or so has been a lesson learned for many of us in my small, Utah town. That lesson is that suicide can happen to anyone, from the best to the worst of families. A 14 year old boy, who was a friend of my god son, ran away almost 2 weeks ago. When we left, he took his mother's purse, which contained, along with cash & credit cards, some pretty heavy-duty, prescription pain medication. The police began searching for him immediately, and his community started the next morning. There was no sign of him, and no one had seen him. Last Monday or Tuesday his body was found, in his neighbor's unlandscaped back yard. He had been there since the night he ran away, when he had also ingested the contents of the bottle of pain medication.
I'm sure that his family thought their children were safe & that they would never take a medication that wasn't prescribed to them. I'm sure the thought of suicide never seriously entered their minds, let alone any other illicit use of those medications. I know this, because we never thought about until the past 6-8 months either, when it became a reality in our lives & even OTC pain relievers became the enemy & had to be kept hidden or not here at all. I hurt for this family though I have never met them & didn't attend the funeral. I know their pain, I have lived it many times in the nightmares that have followed Rhi's attempt last summer.
So, while everyone is looking forward to the holidays & planning what to buy for their loved ones, this family is trying to figure out how to go on without a member & trying to find meaning in their lives in the aftermath. I guess the bigger lesson is to keep all medications, including OTC varieties away from your kids, even after (maybe especially after) they become teens. It could save a life, really, so any trouble that it adds to the process for you would be worth it in the long run, right?