Since the national media descended on our state to cover the loss of one of the more prominent of many thousands of Michigan’s precious students, I’ve been reminding people to consider also the dozens of other young people from an array of backgrounds who have died elsewhere this year and in years before.
I’ve been asking people who wanted to do nice things in response to our recent loss to be sensitive to the fresh pain and possibly even worse anguish that parents and others are experiencing as they recall their own previous losses. What must it feel like to them during this period of prolonged and intense spotlight on our more current tragedy?
How I ache for those who have lost a child to a traffic accident that claimed a young life much too soon; or for those who watched a child struggle painfully in a losing battle against an incurable disease that brought death slowly. How I grieve for those whose child was in such hidden but intense emotional pain that suicide was seen as the only way out.
There is nothing to gain by ranking tragedies. Whichever is closest hurts the most. Yet in our line of work, there seems to be added attention on tragedies which take place in a moment of glory in the prime of life.
Those closest to this most recent loss have proceeded with utmost dignity and compassion in the face of unfathomable circumstances.
It is my hope that in the effervescent, contagious zeal to celebrate one life and mourn one death, we do not say and do things that diminish the lives and deaths of so many other precious young people who have lost their lives in ways that the national and even state media largely overlooked or ignored.