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On a more serious note, as Anne Curry says when she has to segue into a story that kicks you in the gut

Last night when My Kid got home from his school Valentine's Dance, while I was watching "Big Love" on the DVR, he came and sat down on the sofa and said, "I don't think Alex is going to be at the game tomorrow."

(Alex is his best friend from school and they play on the same basketball team.)

I put the Henricksons on pause.

"This guy he went to school with from kindergarten to fourth grade killed himself."



My response was, "Oh my god, that's tragic" which is not a word I use often or one I throw around lightly. I wanted My Kid to know that I recognized the extreme gravity of the situation.

Apparently, this boy went to Kid's school before My Kid did. The 13-year-old took his own life because his girlfriend broke up with him. The girlfriend goes to My Kid's school and was at the dance. She got the call there and told Alex about it.

Now, when an opportunity presents itself to talk to your teenager like this (or like this), it's important that you keep it light. That may seem like an odd choice of words, given that the subject at hand was anything BUT light. But what I mean is, you can't come at them heavy and sermonlike with a whole lot of words.

It's like you're playing hide-and-seek with your teen, and he's hiding around the corner of a building, peeking around it, watching for you. The only way to get him, is to go all the way around the other side and sneak up behind him.

"His parents must be absolutely devastated," I said. (Message: I don't know what I would do if that had been you.)

"He must have had a lot of other problems to feel that hopeless and take his own life," I said. (Message: He was the exception. This is not normal. You would never do that.)

"That's so sad that he would end his life at such a young age. There would have been hundreds of girlfriends to come," I said. (Message: Do not think your life is over if you & Bailey break up.)

God knows I have struggled with depression and alcohol abuse over the years, and I have known sadness and despair and utter and incomprehensible demoralization. I have felt before that I just did not want to go on living. But I never felt the urge to take my own life.

When, as adults, even young adults, we look at our lives, we do not think of ourselves as eighth-graders. I hardly ever even remember those days. That is not who we are. It is but a short stage in who we will become. I can't imagine the despair a child of that age must feel to think that there could never be anything more.

Please pray for his family, if you participate in that sort of practice. I know you don't know them; I don't know them either. But when I think of what they must be going through, my heart hurts.

And hug your kids. Especially your teens and pre-teens. Remind them that this is a tough, tough period of their life, but it gets so, so much better, that their lives are never worthless or disposable, but are precious and valuable.

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Being a teenager is so hard. So is being a mother, but you are awesome at it. How awful for the despondent boy and everyone who loved him.

need to have that best friend and confide in him or her too, which ALex did not do sadly. need to also know when it really is OK to break that confidence level of best friend if it could possibly prevent such an event. Sad. I'd have been much sadder if my best friend killed herself than if she hated me for telling her mother she was considering it.

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