Speak Love

18 days ago my 13 year old nephew, Justin took his own life. The way those words hurt to say or to write, rip through my heart and leave me in a dazed state. He had these sparkly eyes and this laugh that would make you laugh in spite of yourself. I keep expecting any day that he will come up those steps saying “Aunt Steph, you know what happened?”, or be sending his an uncle a text starting at 4pm “What’s for dinner?”. No one will ever replace him, and that part of my heart is just for him.

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Walking through extreme grief, you start to look inward for things you need to speak out about.

Bullying took my nephew away from me. He was the 2nd of 3 kids that have taken their life on the island I live on, because they were bullied for being different from the norm. I am different from the norm myself, but I am old enough to know that you can walk away from those that speak out against you. These kids feel like they can’t walk away or that they are walking alone in this journey.

First instinct is to blame the bullies. They do hold some of the blame, but it goes deeper than that. These bullies are being raised by parents. Maybe these parents don’t believe their child could say these hurtful things, or do these things that hurt people to the core of who they are. Maybe these parents do know, and they feel lost in the world, not sure where to turn.

In a world full of hate everywhere, its our responsibility as humans to speak love. We sensationalize hate, as a society we are failing each other, and the next generation. Turning on the TV every day to see another shooting at a school or everything that is wrong in the world is depressing. The heaviness of this hate is falling on the youngest in the world, and they can’t process the complexity of these emotions without support from us.

This must be a concentrated effort by all. It should be the most important fight in our life. As Parents, Educators, Mental Health Professionals, and Human Beings we need to combat this hate that is filling the schools and minds of our young people. The hardest part of this is admitting we are doing it wrong. Every time we say “I hate..” or any version of that phrase we are putting negativity out into the world. We need to recognize what this is doing to our youth. This is teaching them hate.

So my challenge to anyone that might be reading this. For your part in this concentrated effort to stop bullying and letting these kids know they are not alone, is just simply to start making the beauty and good in the world more important than hate. Really speak with an extreme amount of love so we can change the tide, and make no mistake about it, we CAN change the tide of hate speak. Every water drop coming together will make a flood. Love each other. Love those that are different than you, try to understand their differences, respect them, and let the way they see the world become part of who you are.

For my part, I am going to continue the fight for transgender rights that my nephew started. I am going to demand that we have a place for these kids (the bullied and the bullies) to get the help they need, this means continue my fight for mental health services. I will tell my daughter every day things that I love about her, about the world, about our life together. I will let her know she is not alone, I will give her options for people to speak with. I will do anything to protect her and all children.

How will you make a difference? How will you speak love into the world instead of hate?

 

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10 thoughts on “Speak Love

  1. Beautifully written, we will miss his freckels,silly jokes ,huge burps,the way those eyes sparkled when he would laugh,I am a better person for haveing known that sweet face,he has touched our family and has left a huge in print in our hearts,and no we will not be silent

  2. Beautifully written words. My heart is with you and your family. I hope you don’t mind if we share on Facebook…your message needs to be heard.

  3. I did not know your nephew, but his story broke my heart. I’m from this beautiful island too, and can’t stop thinking about these 3 kids that felt such sadness they ended their lives. I’ve been thinking non stop about what can be done to stop this. You have inspired me to do something kind today. And everyday after. To smile more at people, to try to be positive. It’s a start. Thank you for sharing your story

  4. What a beautiful way to honour your nephews memory. My son went to school with Justin since grade 2 and then in cadets with him for a short time, he said Justin was always so nice to everyone. My guy has not seen Justin very much this school year because of being bullied himself. He quit school in grade 7! He was so upset that he won’t see him again. My heart breaks for you and your family but I am so happy you able to make Justin’s voice heard.

    • Oh what a beautiful and meaningful story. Your words will inspire many people including myself to spread love not hate. It feels so good to be kind and so awful to feel hate. This most definitely needs to be shared. My heart goes out to you and your family during this very sad time. God bless you all.

  5. I am so sorry for your loss. These beautiful young people should still be with us. Everyone is having this discussion…we all feel like we need to do something…it seems you have touched on the answer to begin to help. Love. As simple as that sounds…it almost seems impossible that something so real and true would be the answer. But one person at a time…is the way change happens. We as an island …and universe really for that matter…we need to actively chose every day…to just be kind. They will see us…and it will reflect back to them. Our hearts ache for all of you…but you cannot do this alone…it is OUR responsibility to stop this and turn it around. Love & light to you and yours.

  6. I am so very very sorry for your loss! Thank you for speaking out loud! So many children are being bullied at home, at school and on Social Media. Your suggestion will start to change things for sure. See a child..smile at them, say a kind word or two….unfortunately this Island does not have much support available to these children. I thought for sure ” Bell Let’s talk” was going to help in our community but sadly I haven’t seen much of the money raised applied in this area. There are not enough Psychologists, Psychiatrists, or support staff. The waiting list for Mental Health is 3 months. Kids attempting suicide and failing are seen and sent right back out of hospital with a 3 month waiting list to see someone (and that is called an emergency appointment)! Sorry for your troubles we will call with a follow up appointment!! I fear it will get worse before it gets better sadly. Your suggestion is a start, and a good one. We as a whole have to step up and do what what we can. I suggest they block cell phones at schools, password the wifi, the constant social media has warped these Children’s minds..and you are right, there is too much awareness with things children should never have to deal with or worry about! Television is mostly reality shows, we grew up with comedy shows, Family shows, we laughed, we cried…now you can lean how to murder someone, how to make a bomb, casual sex, drugs,and cruelty. So very very sad! They sit with phones, gaming sticks instead of skipping rope, tag, playing hide & seek with their friends, building snow forts, They stop being Children once they enter in to school, get their first gaming system, first cell phone sadly! One person can’t change things but we ALL can, let’s start today!!! 😉
    God Bless…

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