Robbie’s Hope

I believe in God. I always have. There are some things I would like to ask him about though. The list is long, but here are a few:

1. Why do we have extra body parts that we can live without (appendix, gallbladder etc)?

2. Why can’t we turn on and off our ability to have kids?

3. What on earth do I need hair on the top of my nose for?!

One of my biggest questions is:

4. Why do we lose loved ones too soon?

There has been a lot of deaths lately. A couple of weeks ago, a friend I grew up with in 4-H posted a link on Facebook. Her nephew had passed away. He was 15. (The same age as my oldest son.) Everyone loved him. He was an active kid, outgoing, smiled a lot. But he was silently struggling with depression. Behind that smile, he was not OK. He died by suicide while his parents were at teacher conferences hearing about how great he was. Instead of taking him to swimming, they had to plan a funeral. They had to figure out what his wishes were. They could have easily lost themselves in grief. (I tend to think that’s what I would do.) Instead, they were called to action.

They started “Robbie’s Hope” with the intention of bringing more awareness to teen depression & suicide. They later learned of the acronym for HOPE: Hold On, Pain Ends. Their GoFundMe page has raised over $75,000 to help get awareness and prevention programs started in Colorado.

Even more amazing – all of the conversations it has sparked. I’ve talked to both of my boys about this. I’m sure many others have also had conversations they didn’t think they would have with their kids. If you haven’t had that conversation yet, do it NOW. Please let them know to talk to parents, coaches, school counselors, teachers, pastors, relatives… anyone who will listen. Robbie’s parents thought he was OK.

“It’s ok to not be ok. It’s not ok not to tell anyone.” This is a message that his family wants to be sure you hear. “Not ok” is normal. The photo shopped and Instagram perfect looking people have issues too. Talk to someone & get some help. Suicide is not the answer. There are many people who love you.

After showing him the news story on Robbie, my oldest son said, “It’s true. I’m sure there are a lot of people struggling. Mom, guys are the worst. Nobody wants to talk about feelings.” If that’s true, how do we change it? How do we make it ok for guys to open up? How do we encourage them to support each other? They are constantly bombarded with not being enough. Not a nice enough truck, not a big enough deer, not a fancy enough boat, not smart enough… and he’s 15. It’s a completely different scenario from when I was 15. Instead of someone talking bad about you on Instagram, they stuck a mean (hand written) note in your locker. Bullying and depression aren’t the same thing. Talking to someone is a good first step for both.

We need to believe them. We need to support them. We need to be present with them. Sometimes our journeys take us places we don’t want to go. We need to get the message out so fewer parents have to plan funerals. It’s ok to not be ok. It’s NOT ok to not tell anyone you’re not ok.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. You are loved. You are important.

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