Tonight I am thinking about TJ Ordich. I didn't know him. I had never heard his name until he died a few days ago. And yet, I have cried continuously throughout the night over a boy who I never had the pleasure to meet. This evening there was a memorial service at Washington Park and hundreds of mostly high school students attended. I saw some of that service through another's eyes as I edited a memorial video for TJ. As I was working through the video, the song "Sorrow" by Bad Religion sprang to mind and I couldn't let it go. "And there will be sorrow no more." I wish peace for TJ's family and friends, knowing that it will be a hard journey.
So, I'm sitting at my computer, thinking about my life - the hard years of being a teenager and my role now as a mother. I remember my teen years. They really weren't that bad, but I remember feeling such tremendous pain and anguish over fights and friendships and boys. Remember when you broke up in high school and it felt like a knife was ripping through your chest? It's really not that much different today as an adult, except that I have 20 years of life experience that tells me these feelings will pass. I call my friends. I cry. I hurt. But then I stand back up and move into the next phase of life. When a young person dies, it makes us all sad. We think, "if only they had realized that this too shall pass." But I remember those days when it was impossible to understand or accept that fact.
A couple of years ago, I helped start a group called "Start the Dialogue" - a gathering of women, young and old, to discuss issues ranging from peer pressure to self-image. The group was primarily focused on giving teenage girls a safe forum and a voice, but it also gave the older women in the room a place to examine their lives. In the end, we had women ranging from 13 to 60+ years old teaching each other, learning from each other and listening. It is an amazing group. Tonight I am thinking about one of the topics from that group - "Three Adults You Can Trust." Here's a challenge - who are the three adults you can trust, the ones you go to when you have a problem or something goes wrong? Do our children know who those people are? Do we as adults?
On this very sad night, I am thinking about ways to change our community. To give people, young and old, a voice. To help them feel safe in their homes, schools and social groups To help them know that this too shall pass, and to give them hope when it seems like the end of the world. It's important to tell our loved ones that they are loved, but we need to go one step further and open our hearts and our ears to the people we see everyday. These people are our "community" - even when we don't get along, have the same interests or exist in the same social circles. We need to reach out to one another - not just those who are close to us, but those who are not - and give them love and support. So that the next time the teenagers you know - or the mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, cousins, friends - will understand that they have someone they can come to and that there is always another option.
A quote from the Golden Girls (one of my all-time favorite shows): "we are not in this world for peace." This statement was made to remind someone that, even though times can be rough, we have to keep on moving forward in life. I think we could find a way to do this with love.
May you have love. Rest in peace Timothy Joshua Ordich.
I'm generally pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Here's a glimpse of my life - hope you enjoy it! And if there's a big lapse between posts, well, that's the way life goes in Amy's world.