Josh Pacheco (17) – November 27, 2012
When your child dies, it is devastating. When you later find out he was bullied to death, it is utterly crippling. Yet this is the trend: that gay teens do not want to burden parents or else they are embarrassed for parents to know they are being bullied.
We humans in trauma tend to withdraw to cope with pain. It is already difficult enough for adults to reach out for help. Teens have less life experience, and they do not fully understand the dangers of isolation. The end result of isolation is increasing depression, hopelessness and suicidal ideation.
As important as it is for teens to “tell someone” when they are being bullied, we must keep our focus on the real culprit: bullying. Bullying kills. Anti-gay bullying kills LGBT+ teens. A long stream of studies continue to show that gay teens take the brunt of bullying. They are up to 8 times more likely to attempt suicide due to victimization targeted at their sexuality or gender.
Josh signed out of life with the words of Bilbo Baggins (Lord of the Rings). His November 27, 2012 Facebook status update read:: “I regret to announce that this is the end. I’m going
now, I bid you all a very fond farewell. Goodbye.”
He left a note inside his truck: “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to be strong enough.”
Left behind are his parents, three sisters and one brother. The trouble with suicide is that once it is done, it’s done. There is no changing of the mind. If you are being bullied, you need to change your mind right now and reach out for help.
Your life is tremendously valuable, and there can be hope again. If you need help, reach out to parents or a pastor or a school guidance counselor. If you are too fearful to do that – or do not know how – or you lack the energy to reach out, then I invite you to contact me. I will help you get local help in your area.
Josh’s mother has the final word: “We ha(ve) just lost one of the gentlest spirits God ever created.”
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