8months ago today, I received a call from my father-in-law at 5:30am; any call that early in the morning can’t be good news. I don’t remember the exact words he spoke, I just heard him say that my cousin Jonathan only 15years old had passed away.
Jonathan, sweet Jonathan, just 3 months shy of his 16th birthday was my favorite cousin of all my husband’s cousins. My husband Mike has over 20 first cousins and Jonathan was one of the youngest. I met him when he was 6yrs old; he wanted me to play flag football with him despite wearing a dress and heels! He was a charmer, he took care of everyone and he was a manipulator! He could get anything he wanted by flashing his big brown eyes, batting his lashes and telling you, “You’re so beautiful”!
Jonathan was a phenomenal athlete. He had a gift that doesn’t come along very often. He was a decent student and an exceptional hockey and lacrosse player. As he got older he became more and more involved with traveling teams, night games, high school games and his fellow team members were by his side at all times. As a matter of fact, I don’t even remember a Christmas without Jonathan on the phone with friends, on his way to a friend’s house or with his friends on the couch during the Secret Santa present swap. He was a popular kid and that is a fact.
As Jonathan got older and more involved with sports, friends, girlfriends, I saw him less. Anytime I did see him, he seemed a little moody but nothing that can’t be chalked up to good old teenage angst. What I failed to realize, what I failed to see was how much pain he was in. I still don’t even know how much he suffered but what I do know is that he chose to end his life.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. His loss haunts me every day. This incredibly talented boy had such potential to make a mark on this world. He could have done anything, been anything. The pain inside was too much and he wasn’t strong enough to continue.
I ache inside for his family because in the grand scheme of life, Jonathan was a baby. He’ll never graduate from high school, he’ll never go to a prom, college, get married, have children. I’m grateful for the time that I had with him. I’m grateful that I knew him, that I loved him. I just wish I didn’t miss him so much.
I don’t know what was going through Jonathan’s mind the morning of March13. Nobody will know. I do know that if he knew how to ask for help that he would have. If he asked for help, if we heard his cries, he’d be here today. He’d be 16yrs old.
No matter what you are dealing with or how much emotional pain you feel, there is help out there. It might not be easy to ask for, and your problems won’t magically go away, but in time, things will get better.
RIP JJ 03/13/12