First of all, before you read any further; when you talk about suicide please stop using the word “committed”. Its ridiculous and you are basically calling the person a criminal. The only thing criminal about it is that the person was in so much pain and despair and felt like taking their own life was the only way out. Change your language, and the conversation about the topic becomes a lot easier to openly talk about; especially with our younger people. You change the language as to not shame the person for feeling that way and in my opinion they are most certainly more likely to reach out and ask for help. Being mindful, it takes some practice but its very much worth it; you could save someone’s life with your words.
Also, lately I have heard and seen a lot of people sharing their thoughts on the topic, through way of their religious beliefs. The notion that someone is going to “hell” if they take their own life. While that may be your belief and you are right to hold that belief, not all other people hold that same train of thought or faith and again being mindful of other peoples beliefs will achieve greater success. In my opinion, scaring someone with religion doesn’t prevent suicide and threatening them with that is not a solution to their problem (pain). You want to help a person, knock off the god stuff and put away your opinions and actually listen. Again, in my opinion they don’t need god they need real, live people to listen. If god, religion and faith are something in which they find helps them cope or overcome adversity or lift them from the depression or hurt they are in, then that is beautiful and it is fine but let someone come to their own conclusion about that, instead of shoving it in their face.
Now to the real reason I wanted to write tonight. I was able to attend the “Bike Jam” here in Thompson tonight which was celebrating Suicide Prevention Week or even better Life Promotion Week ( see even these special “awareness weeks” can be switched up to use better language). As you can see from the pictures above, I decided to wear my homemade HOPE North Suicide Prevention Committee shirt in memory of my friend Teeghan Dorion. I had little kids coming up to me tonight and asking who was on my shirt and I got to tell them “oh yeah that’s my friend “t-dawg” and they would say “cool” or laugh at his nickname and run away and go play. If it had been older kids and they had asked more questions I would have told them, “this is my friend Teeghan Dorion; I used to call him T-Dawg and a week before his 18th birthday he took his own life. I’m wearing this shirt to keep his memory alive and to start good, open and honest conversation like this”.
It seems like I’m always on here talking about people who have passed on. That isn’t to make anyone sad, but again like mentioned before I feel like it is important to talk about them and keep their memory alive. To let other people know that regardless of how these people passed away, that they were meaningful and beautiful and loved by others.
I can remember the day that T-Dawg and I became friends, and it was at least two months after meeting him. Before that, he was an annoying pain in my ass and if he were here in person he would tell you the same. He was always on me about something, or just that kid you know that just pokes and pokes and pokes at you until you explode. yeah that kid. It clearly was him testing me to see if I could be trusted, like he did with the other guys too but man was it hard not to lose it. Learned how to be patient getting to know T-Dawg. The day he learned to trust me and the day we became friends was also the day that our friend Fletcher was murdered. I really believe this was the point where he said in his head “holy shit maybe this guy actually does care about me”. And not just with me but all of the dudes that were hanging out with Teeghan. Seeing all of us so heartbroken, even if were doing our best not to show it; kids just know. I feel like he felt that vibe and decided to chill on us from that day on. And man could I notice the change. The wall was broken down for him and his whole personality came out. He was funny, like “stupid joke” funny and they were usually so ridiculous that you were left in happy laughing crying tears. We both shared an affinity for the Boston Bruins, his favorite player being Marc Savard (one of the most underrated playmakers in the league prior to injury) . Like most kids, he wore his emotions on his sleeve. If he was happy, sad, angry, you knew it just by looking at him. The kid I knew when he left to go live with his mom was someone who was going to be successful at something; I don’t know what I had guessed he would become when he was older but I really looked forward to seeing and hearing about it happening for him. I really wish I hadn’t lost touch with T-Dawg after.
In early March 2015, I was called into a room and told that Teeghan had taken his own life just a week before his 18th birthday. A week before he was “free” in this world to get moving on that successful life. A young adult. I think the first question I always have when heartbreaking stuff like this happens is “why?” Like what was going on for him inside and out just a week shy of a big milestone birthday that made him not want to reach it? I wish we hadn’t lost touch for a few years, that we had stayed in contact so he would have known that someone had his back and his front. The thing is that I feel sometimes we just don’t know what someone is going through, close and tight knit or far away and not in communication. We are so good sometimes at hiding our emotions that even when we are in so much pain we are able to hide it so very well. Now I don’t know if that was the case for T-Dawg but I do know the person who left to start over with family seemed to be a very happy go lucky kid and somewhere along the line that turned into a lot of hurt and pain that was too overwhelming to him. So when I think of Teeghan, I don’t think of a person who took his own life, but rather choose to think of him the way I knew him. That funny and weird but really really good kid.
I don’t feel like I am glorifying suicide by putting him on a shirt, but rather starting a conversation in his memory so that maybe other young kids will hear what I have to say about him and decide to reach out to someone instead of hiding the hurt and the pain and feeling like suicide is their only way. which it is not.
So when you see me wearing this shirt, ask me about him. It could spark a conversation to help someone choose life instead.
My Hero T-Dawg. Thank-You for trusting me and for being my friend. I hope you are free and at peace now. See you when I get there.