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Suicide Is Not an Option

Jasmine Varelas, Editor of Opinion

No more sunsets. No going to see your favorite band perform.  No more first kisses.  No more “Next”.  Our Sahuaro community was hit hard this last week.  Two of our own made one final decision to put an end to any and all possibilities of what might come “next”.  And although they ended their own pain and depression, the suffering of those who love them is just beginning.  For anyone who is reading this right now and knows what it feels like to lose someone who you love or care about to suicide, our hearts hurt for you.  For those of you who have contemplated suicide – please don’t act on it.  Please go talk to someone – your family, your friends, a trusted adult on campus, a prevention-hotline number, anyone and everyone, over and over again.  Suicide is not an option.  Repeat: Not. An. Option. Because you’ll never have another “next” – next laugh with friends, next falling in love, next looking down into your own newborn’s eyes.

At first glance, it may seem that Alex and Drake did not have much in common.  Alex was a senior, Drake a freshman.  But here’s what Alex and Drake do have in common.  They were both teenagers who made mistakes – that’s what teenagers do.  And both did not give themselves the chance to figure out that despite their mistakes, their lives would get better.  This is just one part of our lives – decades from now. these years will be a blur.  We’ll hang our heads and laugh at the dumb things we said and did.  We’ll use them as examples to make our own kids feel better when they go through hard times. Teenagers lack impulse control. We don’t think of the consequences of our actions.  We mess up and sometimes we feel really bad that we let people we care about down, including being disappointed in ourselves. But we have our entire lives ahead of us to learn from those mistakes, to become better people, to realize that anything and everything is possible if we can just believe in “NEXT”.

But here’s the thing: we are teenagers.  The truth is, our bodies and our brains are going through so many dramatic changes.  There are parts of the brain that feel and store emotions and are associated with impulses. It matures well ahead of the section of the brain that regulates those emotions and impulses, the pre-frontal cortex. Which basically means that up until the age of 25, when kids get sad, it may seem like the end of the world and that nothing will ever get better.  But don’t act on that impulse.  According to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens 15 to 19 years old. Apparently, we’re known as the “Post 9/11” generation.  We’ve never known a world without terrorism, where school shootings are not “the norm”, where even our parents will be sitting on their cellphones at the dinner table (if we even still eat dinner together), and every fight or insult is documented online for hours or days after the incident. It’s exhausting.

Last Friday at 7:45 am the school held a memorial for Alex Rodriguez between the 100 and the administrative building. Seniors, juniors, sophomores, and freshmen came together dressed in blue – Alex’s favorite color- to celebrate his life and memories of him.  Senior Isabella Mattacks was asked what her favorite thing about him and her first response was, “My favorite thing about him is his smile and his ability to make everyone around him laugh.”

Just before Sahuaro could process the feeling of losing one of our fellow Cougars, we were forced to feel the pain of another loss. Drake Smith, a freshman, unfortunately took his life Saturday January 27. Sahuaro counselors would like everyone to know that they are here for you – whether it be feelings of grief from these losses, even if you did not personally know either one and you might not even understand why you feel sad, and especially if you are contemplating suicide.  But remember: There is a “NEXT” and suicide is NOT an option.

Drake’s memorial services will be held on Saturday February 3rd at Calvary Chapel on Speedway and Harrison at 10 am.  Everyone is welcome.

Also, if you’d like to leave a favorite memory or appropriate comment about  either Alex or Drake, please feel to comment to this article and we will publish it.

 

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4 Comments

4 Responses to “Suicide Is Not an Option”

  1. Mackenzie on February 2nd, 2018 11:47 am

    I knew Alex. he was an awesome person with a great personality. he would make someone smile when they were having a bad day. he was a kind, generous, caring person to everyone here at Sahuaro. his great spirit will forever be in our hearts… ONCE A COUGAR ALWAYS A COUGAR!!!… we will always remember Alex forever…. when I had heard that he had passed away my heart was just broken up into tiny pieces.. I just can not believe what had happened. we will forever remember you Alex Rodriguez… we love you..

    [Reply]

  2. Amber Decker on February 5th, 2018 9:43 am

    Drake was an intelligent, mind driven young man. He cared about people and let them know he cared in His own way. We will forever ask the question “why?” and he will always always be missed. I love you Drake and I truly hope you knew that.

    [Reply]

  3. Victoria decker on February 5th, 2018 10:05 am

    I really appreciate this article , Drake Smith was my cousin and I having a hardback time right now with but seeing this shows me that people do care and want to help out . Thank you guys so much. I will always miss him and a piece of me is gone but I know he is happy I just wanted to let you guys know your awesome for doing this

    [Reply]

  4. Malakai Lance on February 7th, 2018 9:51 am

    Drake was my little brother, Not only a little brother but my best friend. I remember going out on midnight walks with him. talking about his favorite games. his favorite things to do. we had a lot of fun together, it hurts to write this right now as me and my family are still suffering the loss of such an amazing and charismatic person. i feel like anyone that knew him would say the same things, he was very quick to stand up for people. anyone that was sad or hurt he would go out of his way to stand up for them even if it meant that he would get in trouble for it. he was dauntless and caring cause he knew how much it hurts to be picked on or treated unfairly. Many people ask me if there is anything they can do, from teachers to friends. Love your family, love your friends. Talk to them and make sure that they are not feeling any of this. anything that would make them feel this way and act upon it. you never really realize how much of a bad situation it is until it happens to you. and you always think, this never happens to me, its always someone else. thats what i thought too and it happened to me so please love your family and friends. your brothers and your sisters, Mothers and Fathers cousins anyone. lend a hand and let them know that they are not alone and that they can persevere through this pain.

    [Reply]

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