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A Boy Named Sam

This post was written by jd on March 21, 2010
Posted Under: Bits & Pieces

When my second family was growing up, our home was a safe haven for a lot of my son’s friends. They knew that they could come to our home, have a place to sleep, warm meals and a  refrigerator full of food for their taking.

Sam was one of those boys.  He always said I was like a real dad to him, and in later years whenever he and his friends and I had dinner, he always called me the king of dads. He said I was a dad to all of them.

A couple of times Sam got hurt. Once he went head over heels on his bicycle. I rushed over to help him, he was screaming and hollering. I talked to him, and doing therapeutic touch  he calmed  down until the ambulance arrived.

Then there was the time that he got stung by a wasp. He again was crying and screaming, again I rushed over and using therapeutic touch, I calm him down and he said the pain went away.

In the last two weeks, Sam has been coming over. He broke down several times. His dad was dying and he wanted me to go up to where his dad lived and do therapeutic touch on him. He also told me of the abusive childhood that he had. His dad shot his mother right in front of him. How his dad was mentally and physically abusive to him.

How one time he wanted to go to the county fair so bad and his father took everyone but him to the fair, than came back and taunted him and told him how they all had a great time and too bad he couldn’t go.

So I told him I would help him by going up and seeing his dad. I put it off most of the last two weeks, having got caught up in the day to day affairs. Finally, I told him I would up with him  last Friday.  Gotten busy that day, I kept thinking I should call Sam. Finally, I got home Friday evening and my son texted me wondering if I had called Sam. I texted back and said I would call him now. I called, no answer on his cell, so I left a message telling him that we could go up Monday for sure.

Well, the next text I got from my son was that Sam had committed suicide, he had shot himself in the early morning before sunrise. Later in the day, when his dad heard the news, his dad shot and killed himself.

So I sit here as I write this, with great sorrow and guilt, I wonder if I had just taken the time to help Sam’s dad, would this have happened? I had run to help Sam twice before, but I feel like I failed him in the end.

John J. O’Dell

By the way I changed the name of the actual person involved  to protect the remaining family members. But this did happen last Friday

Reader Comments

Ouch. I would hate to be in your shoes. I’ve never met you, but, I look forward to seeing your website every morning. You strike me as a caring, thoughtful and socially responsible person. We will never know if this was preventable, and that’s very painful. I’ve always been taught that suicide is the single most selfish thing that a person could ever do, acting with no regard for the people left behind. There is a lesson here for all of us. Recognizing a desperate cry for help is not always easy, I’m sure you didn’t think that this tragic outcome was a viable option for “Sam” or his dad. An alarming number of young people are taking this route, it’s extremely sad when they perceive suicide as the only option. If they could understand how many people would be deeply saddened by their absence, maybe they’d think twice before taking this final, irrevocable step. There are no words to ease your feelings of sorrow and guilt. I guess knowing that there was a long history of dysfuntion in this family might help one realize that the potential for tragedy existed. It’s not your fault, John. Suicide is an individual’s choice made in a moment of despair. Many people will be listening more intently as a result of your honest, heartwrenching letter. Life can get very busy, let us all slow down a bit and take time when someone reaches out, it may or may not make a difference, but, I suspect it’s easier to live with knowing you tried your best. My heart aches for all involved. Hang in there.

#1 
Written By Anonymous on March 22nd, 2010 @ 8:40 AM
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