Friday, June 1, 2012

RIP Adrian DeMeza

June is here. My niece calls it the month of insanity. For many it is  the beginning of a transition from one grade to another, high school to college, or college to the "real" world. One door closes and another opens full of possibility, hopes and dreams. 

Adrian DeMeza, 18, was one of those high schoolers. A senior at Stanton College Prep in Jacksonville, Adrian had been accepted at Florida State University where he planned to study biology/pre-med. But Adrian won't be decked out  in his cap and gown, smiling, waving and strutting to strains of pomp and circumstance. Instead, he was buried this afternoon, leaving a big family and a host of friends to wonder what went wrong. Adrian took his own life on Wednesday.

I don't know Adrian, would have missed even hearing about his death, except that a school mate told the small congregation that met at church for mid-week services.  One of the reasons I don't read the paper anymore is because the number of children(teens) who are dying violent deaths, and the number of obituaries listed every day seems to be taking up too much room.  I don't know what circumstances led to Adrian's decision to end the pain he had to be feeling. I heard someone say he didn't get into the college he wanted. But you and I both know there was more to it than that. 

According to

One of the leading causes of death amongst teenagers is suicide. The Centers for Disease control report that it is the third leading cause of death, behind accidents and homicide, of people aged 15 to 24. Even more disturbing is the fact that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for children between the ages of 10 and 14.
Teen suicide is a very real issue today in the United States. It is important to recognize the fact that the suicide rate amongst teenagers is on the rise. In order to prevent teen suicide, it is vital to recognize what leads to it, and then treat the causes.

Excuse me .... 10-14? What does a ten year old know of suicide? Shouldn't he/she be out riding bikes or playing with dolls, or reading Nancy Drew mysteries? It makes me sad to think kids (and now that I'm in my 6th decade I think teenagers are still kids) live in a world where killing themselves is even an option. Dying is the purview of adults, isn't it? 

Where, I wonder, did things start to go so wrong in Adrian's life that he started looking for a way out? How did it happen that a child whose smile according to his obituary "could light up a room"  would rather die than go on living with the emotional pain he was in? And how many why's will Adrian's family have to ask before they realize the answers were buried along with their beloved son/brother/grandson/brother?

Several years and many tears ago, I stood at the same crossroads as Adrian. I was full of pain and rage and just wanted it all to stop. Looking back I don't think I wanted to die. But I couldn't think of any other way out. I wasn't as effective as Adrian. I had to have my stomach pumped, then look into the faces of the people who loved me and promise not to do something like that again. 

 I wish I could have held Adrian's hand in those last hours, listen as he told me his story and convince him to put the gun down, that as dark as things look today, the light will return tomorrow. Hold on, I might have said. You are not alone.  You are loved way more than you know. Trust me, on this one Adrian, because you can't trust the lies your sadness is telling you. I promise it will be different; maybe not easy but different. Hold on, Adrian. Oh God, please hold on. 

In this technological age, I think humans are farther apart than ever before. Rather ironic, isn't it, that one can send a text message that is read within seconds, but we don't hear the cries of our young ones. I have started the practice of thanking servicemen when I see them. Thank you for your service, I say. Maybe I should - we all should - make it a practice to smile at each person we cross paths with - the crabby ass honking his horn behind you in stop and go traffic, or the mom in Walmart at 5:30pm with hungry, tired children crying for dinner and attention, or the teenager who is covered in tattoos and piercings - to exchange not just pleasantries, but heartfelt how are you's, then be prepared to listen to the answer.  I'm not saying that we can tell when/if a person is contemplating suicide. But I do believe that a kind word, a helpful hand, a smile can make someone feel less alone. Maybe that's all it takes. 

And I beg you, watch your family and friends - from little kids to grandmas -  for signs of depression. Don't wait til its too late when all you'll have left are the whys.

Rest in peace, Adrian. I pray you are at peace, walking with the angels. 

Merry Me


Anonymous said...

I knew Adrian (AJ). And he truly did have a contagious smile. He will be sorely missed. Please pray for his friends and family in their time of need. We love you AJ <3

Anonymous said...

I had a class w/ A.J. and he was always making jokes and laughing, so it was a real shock hearing of his suicide. I didn't know him that well and we barely talked but he was definitely a person I won't forget. As to why he did it, I honestly can't say why but I know he got in trouble for having marijuana some time ago and when I was looking online for information about his death I came across a police report saying he was arrested the day before he died. I really don't wish to upset anyone with this information, and I really hope the best for his family in this sad time.

Laura Paine Carr said...

Once again, your words are probing, bringing us along into areas of heart and soul.

My heart and prayers are with Adrian's family & beloveds.

AkasaWolfSong said...

My prayers will definitely be with Adrianne's family at this time.

This subject is very near to me and we can never be too vigilant in regards to suicide...and speaking of suicide, I think it does not know age, as my loved one was only nine years old when he attempted this.

Thankfully on my end it was stopped in time.

My heart is with you always,

Unknown said...

Adrian is my son. While it was true that he recently had some issues with using marijuana and alcohol, we (his parents) truly thought that this was "normal teenage boy" behavior. We had no idea, nor did any of his friends, that he was thinking of ending his life. He had never talked about, never attempted it before, and had everything to live for. He had been accepted to every college he applied to, and chose FSU. He was truly smart, witty, handsome, and a good friend to so many people. I had kept a journal for AJ since he was born. When he was 16 I gave it to him and said, "If you every have any doubt about how much I love you, you can read this". I texted him almost daily (he lived primarily with his father for the last 2 years) and told him I loved him and how proud I was of him. Our last conversation was awesome, and he was talking about FSU and becoming a doctor. I think AJ made a split second random decision. He didnt want to be in trouble any more. I wish desparately I could have been there beforehand, or he would have made some half-hearted attempt so we could have realized his fear and the depth of his problem. But we cant get him back. I can only try to move forward through my grief knowing that AJ was a great person, a wonderful soul, an awesome son and brother, and a best friend to many. I love you, AJ.