Earlier this week, I went to my second funeral in two weeks. You might think that funerals get more common as a person ages, but these weren’t funerals for contemporaries. Rather, they were for kids.
The first funeral was for a 15-year-old boy who died when he hit his head on the bottom of my apartment pool. What horrible bad luck! Although diving is prohibited in our pool, people do it all the time, and I have never known anyone to hit their head on the bottom. But even more bad luck is the fact that no one noticed him on the bottom of the pool for several minutes. The incident reminds me of the young Irish boy Sean dying in Lonesome Dove because a fluky incident with some water moccasins. Gus McCrae’s words of wisdom – “He was an unlucky young sprout,” and later, “Life is short. Shorter for some than for others.”
The second funeral was for a 28-year-old young man who was one of my son Tommy’s best friends since high school. Tommy told me that the kid took his own life, and during the memorial service, there were a couple of mentions of depression. Following the service, Tommy told me the young man was having some financial problems since realizing that he couldn’t make a living in music. Plus, there was a problematic girlfriend.
I was not surprised to learn that there were financial and relationship issues behind this depression. In fact, more than two years ago, I wrote the following to a friend who is on the Texas Board of Education:
- “I suspect that there already are classes to help kids make intelligent financial decisions. If there aren’t, there should be. I would be surprised, however, if there are classes to help kids in making relationship decisions, and I can’t think of anything that would improve their lives and help them avoid mistakes more than a class on developing and maintaining good relationships and avoiding or ending toxic ones. One of the goals of a high school education should be to prepare our kids for a productive and satisfying life. And making good decisions, especially concerning money and personal relationships could serve as a cornerstone.”
Reminds me of the folk song, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.” RIP, Brandon.