A letter for your broken heart...

Real Estate Agent with Realty Executives

This weekend, I heard some heartbreaking news. My friends' 17-year-old son took his own life after a series of cruel and malicious hazing incidents surrounding his football team. In Dakota's memory, and the memory of my two other friends who have taken their own lives, I am writing what I wish they could have known before they made that decision.

Dear friend,

I wish someone had told me this, when I was young. I'll tell you now, so you can learn what all "grown-ups" know: Who you are in High School is so little of who you are in life. Everything about that microcosm of life is an illusion. Don't buy into it!  Anyone who is cruel and heartless to you now is of no value in your future. Imagine, for a moment, that this is as good as it gets for their life. In fact, they will probably soon be back to living with their parents!

The people you will remember are those that were kind to you when times were tough. Those who make you laugh. Invest your time in those people--surround yourselves with them. Block out the noise made by people with no other outlet for their heartache than to inflict pain on other people. Someday, they'll be serving you hamburgers through a little glass window.

I wish I could tell you that your worst day when you are 17 pales in comparison to the joy and delight the rest of your life holds. As awful as it seems on a really bad day, you are just beginning to see the fabulous gifts you hold--and what amazing things the future holds for you.

I wish you knew that even when you have made really horrible choices, your life has infinite value. You are unique, wonderfully made, and impossible to duplicate. You are forgiven, chosen by God's grace, and held as a precious gem in His hands.

Your life, your presence, makes your parents marvel at their incredible good fortune to have had a hand in your making. From your first moments on earth, they could never have imagined what an incredible gift your life has been in shaping their life. Your grandparents cannot describe how proud they are of you--and of the legacy you help them leave behind.

Your friends cannot imagine a day without your laughter and smile.

Even in the hardest times, the core of you is stronger than anything you are facing. Your life, your spirit, and your future are wondrous and incredible in ways that cannot even be spoken.

There is a life ahead for you filled with joy and love beyond your ability to understand right now.

You need only wake up tomorrow and see beyond these tears to the possibility of a future beyond all your dreams.

And finally...

I wish I knew you needed this letter before you left. Every day, in a thousand ways, you are achingly missed.

Comments (86)

James Lyon
Vista Pacific Realty - Sacramento, CA

I had a friend in junior high that did the same thing for the same reasons. I still think about him 23 years later. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Aug 25, 2009 08:56 AM
Beverly of Bev & Bob Meaux
Keller Williams Suburban Realty - West Orange, NJ
Where Buying & Selling Works

This is...well, I guess everyone has already said it. Our prayers go out to all.

Aug 25, 2009 10:57 AM
Judi Bryan
Executive Realty Group - Bloomingdale, IL
Your Chicagoland Connection


What a beautiful thought...what a beautiful letter!  Maybe if everyone who reads it REBLOGS it, it might comfort another aching heart, might cause one child (maybe even MANY children to rethink something horrible they might be considering for themselves), might encourage someone else to send a message of hope, of love, of support to someone else who needs it.

Thank you for sharing.  I, for one, plan to reblog your beautiful letter!

Aug 25, 2009 11:49 AM
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

My heart aches for your friends' losses. It's such a pity. In a teenage world, everything appears so big and real. I dont know what else to say except that I pray for comfort during these times.

Aug 25, 2009 12:15 PM
Pat Fenn
Marketing Specialist for CJ Realty Group/Cindy Jones Broker - Springfield, VA

Stephanie such a tragic loss.  My prayers go out to the family who lost their son so young.

Aug 25, 2009 12:17 PM
Eric Middleton
Closer Look Property Inspections Inc. - Uniondale, NY
Professional Property Inspector

Hey Stephanie,

I'm really sorry to hear about this tragic loss. I could only imagine the pain the pain of the family as well as yourself. I have two boys , and my oldest son will be starting high school next year. I can't help but be very concerned about his safety.

I would like to pass on this thought to you and your friends: At 1corinthians chapter 1 verses 3 & 4 it states that God is a God of all Comfort to those in tribulation.

So may God be with the family that lost their son.

Aug 25, 2009 01:48 PM
Nellie Lytvinenko
Homes by Nellie-Working with Buyers & Sellers - Raleigh, NC
919-210-9992, Raleigh - Cary NC Real Estate

My daughter's junior yr in high school thru 2nd yr college = 7 suicides.  Beautiful middle class America families.

At one point, I told all 3 of my kids -- if they committed suicide .. that they were NOT to expect a nice funeral with tons of people.... I WOULD dump them in the city dump!   And I meant it. 

I am sympathetic to your friends/family for their loss - BUT I hope the friends & family keep in mind that they had NO control over this terrible tragedy! Prayers are going out to all.


Aug 25, 2009 04:19 PM
Linda Lipscomb
Linda Lipscomb RE/MAX Lexington Henderson County TN - Lexington, TN
731-695-1118, Lexington TN Homes

Life is so hard, so cruel.  Our young people have it very tough.  Much tougher than my generation.

I pray everyday for the safety of my Granddaughter and to all the children who need our prayers, support, and direction.

Such a sad story.  A tragic outcome.  We can only hope others can be saved from even the thought.

Aug 25, 2009 05:00 PM
Al Dobbs
ADD Real Estate - North Chicago, IL

It is so sad. There is too much hazing that is still being allowed in school. Teachers need to be taught how to spot and handle the many incidents of hazing. No child should have to go to school scared.

Aug 25, 2009 06:01 PM
Debra Brodhecker
House Dressing - Branchville, NJ
House Dressing, New Jersey



Please post this letter on the young mans My Space or Facebook site.  I'm sure his friends have a memorial there.  I work with teens and there is a high possibility of copy cat suicides at this young mans school--school officials, parents, teachers, fellow students and the community need to be aware and educated about what to do and where to turn if they suspect a child is thinking of suicide.

I hope you can be a good friend to the parents they will need support for a very long time and many of their friends will not be able to handle the long haul of grief.

My prayers go out to everyone involved.

Aug 25, 2009 11:30 PM
Reece Nichols-Mary Wilcox - Kansas City, MO
Reece Nichols Mary Wilcox BPOR, CDPE, ASD, SFR, AB

What a tragedy.

Aug 26, 2009 02:55 AM
Cindy Cranston
Fulmer Realty- Floresville, LaVernia, San Antonio - San Antonio, TX

On July 11 my 18 year old cousin took her life, I wish someone had said to her what you said in this post. Everyone that knew her and loved her are left trying to make sense out of this senseless act. If only she had taken a moment to call someone...if only. Thank-you for your post.

Aug 26, 2009 07:07 AM
Mike Weber
Keller Williams Realty Northern Colorado - Fort Collins, CO
40+ years in Northern Colorado

Sorry to the family for the loss.  I am forwarding a copy of the letter to my middle and high school aged children.

Aug 26, 2009 02:09 PM
John DL Arendsen
CREST "BACKYARD' HOMES, ON THE LEVEL General & Manufactured Home Contractor, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments - Leucadia, CA
Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & RE Developer

Kids have always been cruel to one another but we're living in such an unusually if not un-human environment nowadays and kids are the unfortunate victims of some real cruel bullying by some very screwed up kids. Each geneation parents say, "I don't know what this world is coming to". Well, let this be a sign of just how de sensitized we've become. Do you really think it's all the kids fault? Hardly not. Violent video games and movies coupled with dis-interested, disconnected and pre occupied dual income parents trying to make a mortgage payment certainly won't help bring a resolve to this pandemic crisis anytime soon. It all starts in the home and when no parents are home and kids are left to their own devices this is what happens. As Peter, Paul and Mary so aptly stated in their song "Where Have All The Flowers Gone" "When will we ever learn"?

Aug 26, 2009 03:40 PM
Mark Velasco
Sharpstone Commercial - Whittier, CA
Top Producing COMMERCIAL Team 30+ years experience

Thant is a sad story Stephanie. Life is short and we need to enjoy our loved ones for every minute.

Aug 26, 2009 05:54 PM
Tamara Dorris
Master Your Market Real Estate Coaching - Carmichael, CA

Thank you Stephanie for such a heartfelt post.

A couple of kids at my kids' high school killed themselves....one because he was gay and told his father who didn't accept it. Another, last year, for no reason anyone knows. He did say a final goodbye on MySpace, and sadly, no one even noticed.

I cry for these kids and their parents.


God bless you for caring and sharing this post.



Aug 27, 2009 11:58 AM
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Las Vegas, NV

Stephanie - I am so sorry I missed this post and congrats on your feature from AR! This is a very interesting post and I want to try and keep it alive by featuring it at the group ..............



Aug 29, 2009 03:59 PM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Stephanie, thank you for writing your beautiful letter. I'm giving a copy to my 16 year-old granddaughter. Our area is suffering from a group of high school suicides right now; the pattern needs to be broken, and letting kids know how important each and every one of them is to us and the world is a step in the right direction.

Aug 30, 2009 03:28 AM
Connie Winstead
Nancy Puder & Associates - Arroyo Grande, CA
San Luis Obispo County CA Real Estate Agent

Bullying and homophobia must stop. 

Sep 08, 2009 06:44 PM
Liz Moras Migic
Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor

All that would be good to know AND like everything in life that we don't know until we experience it......i wish the systems were in place to help these kids - it's heartdbreaking - beautiful letter......so sorry for your friend.

Nov 10, 2009 05:39 PM