Yes, it is days like today that getting out of bed will be the biggest accomplishment of my day. While anyone who has experienced loss or endured the grief of losing a loved one understands and recognizes that the holidays are hard, I think that the situations we continue to face with the cards stacked against us are like no other. Since our tragedy, we have done our best to really put ourselves out there and open up on our experiences to try and help those that may someday face similar circumstances know what this path entails. It's now at a point where I'm wondering if our effort to love everyone else and help others is resulting in our son Kellen having to suffer for a lifetime from our loss. He has the biggest heart and has climbed the biggest hills to find a place where he is comfortable and stable but this world that we live in continues to unfairly tear him down.
Earlier this week he received something that he asked a friend to make for him, it's what today is called a "paper fortune teller" but in our days I'm sure we had another name for it. One of the answers within this paper fortune teller was " you are weird so you just killed yourself." Let that sink in for a minute, this is coming from an elementary student attending a christian academy in an affluent Indianapolis suburb. While you think about if you ever heard such words out of a child under 10, let me share a bit about our family and our beliefs. We are not a religious family, we do believe that there is some power that has put us all hear but we don't believe any of us will ever be able to know or understand who that was or how it happened. With Kellen, based on our experiences in public school and needing something more for him to hold on to, we have taken a different approach. We have lead him down the path of Christianity, down the path of having a being that he can believe in and always feel will protect him. Now, within the same walls where the words of loving god are shared every day, he's experiencing the same hate that took Hudson's life. The difference, he's experiencing it at age 7! Think about that, 7 years old and already exposed to this level of hate from an older student. To that I ask that question, where are our children safe these days? We are trying something uncomfortable to us and this is the result. Is it the midwest, is it the wealthy kids that think there are no rules for them, is it what we see on tv, what is it, someone please help me understand?? I look back to my childhood, I reflect on long walks to and from Miami elementary on the south side of Lafayette and I can never, not one time, think of such hateful language used during those years. We would call people names and we'd do mean things but never did we devalue the presence of their being or the importance of their life. I just don't know what point we have gotten to in this society that these words can be used so frequently. This incident comes just days after we posted a picture of our deceased son with the words "You are Beautiful" on our Facebook, something he reminded people of daily and a post shared many times and viewed by probably hundreds, only to wake up to a comment with the words "Kill yourself" from one of the students that no doubt had a role in driving Hudson over the edge. He's dead, why does this need to continue? Today's ride to school was conversation with Kellen about the student that won't keep his hands off of him. This time it was tickling and poking and threatening to push him off the risers during their Holiday performance to "make him look like a fool to them" It's something new every day, how can the teachers and administration keep up with this? If my child isn't safe here, what is my next option?
And you know what I get to do every day, I get to go to work, run a global operation and carry on like nothing is wrong. Do you have any idea how hard that is on days like this? I love my job and I have the greatest support system I could possibly have, I'm not sure I'd be able to carry on without the friends and colleagues that make up my work family. On days like this when I want to give up, on days like this when I want to bring back the good values that I was taught of respect and class in all that you do, I simply look into the eyes of my little boy. I continue to teach him what is right. The kid who knows exactly when on my darkest days to remind me that he doesn't know what he would do without me. The kid that carries on through it all and does nothing but love and appreciate everyone around him the way that I wish all children should. The wife and daughter that surround us and provide the love and laughter to help us see through the hate in this world. Often times picking herself up to carry me through. The people that support me and whose shoulders I will continue to stand on until we end up on the top. Love will win, if it takes every last breath of my life, I will fight until hate is an afterthought.
If you are feeling hopeless or having thoughts of ending your life, please reach out for assistance. Resources are available at https://www.projecthudson.org/get-help/
Remember that you don't have to call, you can simply text for help from the US by texting home to 741-741 or going to their website at https://www.crisistextline.org