My younger cousin Tyler, a big and strong, yet kind-hearted young man who had unfortunately been struggling with a drug addiction for some time, took his life last weekend. I just attended his funeral to pay my last respects.
As far as cousins go, we were pretty close, and it’s hard for me to accept that this young man I’d known since his birth decided to end his life. However, addiction can have a powerful effect on mood and psychology. Perhaps he felt like he was hopeless — there’s a great deal of pressure brought to bear on young men these days. We do not live in a forgiving, accepting society.
I have my regrets, but in these cases it’s hard to know whether one’s efforts could have made a difference. Nevertheless, it strengthens my resolve to try to make the world a place where men of all sorts belong, rather than a predatory society that devours the fragile among us, or a mindless one that simply thoughtlessly tramples them.
To see my uncles’ and cousins’ genuine sorrow was truly touching, and despite the tragedy, it gave me a sense of hope. We do care about each other, and as long as that’s true, there’s a reason to carry on.