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Reflections on Death

July 22, 2013

Death is the worst part of life. Lately, there seems to have been a lot of death going around: Cory Monteith, the rehashing of Trayvon Martin, teenage girls hanging themselves after their rapists post and share pictures of their evil deeds…it all seems like too much, to me.

Why are our young people turning to drugs, alcohol, and suicide for solace, more and more? It is gutwrenching, just as an outside observer…I can’t begin to fathom how the mothers, fathers, significant others, and other loved ones feel in the aftermath of death. My heart goes out to those left behind.

Whether by accident, the ((potential)) misdeed of another, or their own hands, it’s unbelievably clear that something in our society must change. Our youth need to know that there are other, better options, than dealing with pain through self medication or suicide. I know there are hurts that are larger than life and seem inescapable, except through death. I’ve been very, very fortunate to survive such things.

My most fervent hope is that those who struggled in life have found the peace they sought in death. That they are free from the pain of this world. But also, that they may be able to see the greater picture, and feel regret for the lives they left unlived. Because all of them gave up their potential by making some terrible, everlasting choices.

The friends of those who have suffered should also bear a burden, in my opinion, particularly if they fed into any of the ostracizing of the dead. I would have been lost without my friends, if they had turned on me in the wake of such scandals as so many young girls have been caught up in.

For those outraged in the wake of the Zimmerman trial, I have a question: What purpose does your rage have? Will your anger bring Trayvon back? Or illuminate for the world whatever it was that truly happened that night? Will the violence against innocent people, based solely on the color of their skin, truly make anything right? Would Trayvon have wanted a nation to turn, man against man, brother against brother, because of his death? We all know the answers are no. Any violent death is a tragedy; especially when it’s the death of a youth, on the cusp of manhood. The fact remains, though, that we don’t and can’t know all that happened that night, since there were no witnesses besides Zimmerman and Martin. The justice system did what it was supposed to do. That is often a tough thing to accept. But in this country, you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. And there was not enough clear cut evidence to support a guilty verdict. If it was, in fact, murder and not legitimate self-defense, that is atrocious and one day, George Zimmerman will have to answer for that. But that judgment is not ours to dispense.

Rather than abuse and fight one another, why not make our states, our country, our world, a safer place for all? Turn your pain into the service of others and honor the memories of those lost, rather than dishonoring them with violence and discord. Gandhi said it best: “An eye for an eye, and pretty soon the whole world is blind.”

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