News One Never Wants to Share
The news from La Cañada on Friday was devastating – a teen had jumped from the high school’s rooftop about 4 p.m., ending his life. The scene was said to have been played out in front of other students on the ball field. A feeling of numbness spread with the news, leaving the inevitable question of “Why?” And “Not again.”
Mary O’Keefe and Maddy Pumilia reported on the suicide for Crescenta Valley Weekly and I know that for both it was news that hit hard.
In addition to being a mother of three, Mary is active in the community and is a founder of the Fire House youth center on Foothill Boulevard. Maddy graduated from La Cañada High School just a couple of years ago and still lives in the city. Though stunned at first, she quickly pulled herself together and made her way to the high school.
Maddy had just completed an interview with La Cañada Unified School District superintendent Wendy Sinnette for last week’s paper. It was going to be a much sadder interview this time around.
When we sent out our e-blast letting the community know of the incident, the outpouring of grief was immediate. One reader sent an email that, in part, read, “Please become a champion voice in your paper re: mental health, help, and our children.”
As many of you know, I understand all too well how deep the well is that is home to depression. During my teen years I turned inward when I was hurt and struggled with the urge to harm myself. I will repeat what I have written in the past, advice that is simple yet I wish someone had shared it with me: You will feel different tomorrow. Things will look different tomorrow. Not always better, perhaps, but certainly different.
Pretty obvious, I know, but it can help put things in perspective. Of course, sometimes professional intervention is necessary and if that’s the case do not hesitate to seek help, whether for you or your child.
With the La Crescenta community still recovering from the suicide of Drew Ferraro last year, we reach out to our neighbor La Cañada as they begin the struggle that we have been experiencing. There is little that can be said to comfort the community overall and the families specifically affected by Friday’s death. I know that for me, I hugged my kids a little tighter.
You can learn more by reading Mary and Maddy’s story that begins on the bottom cover.