"I Just Tried To Kill Myself"

Coffee with one of my young friends

It was two days before Christmas break and my young friend, Taylor, (who’s had a rough go over the last couple of years) texted me first thing in the morning asking if I was going to be at the school. “Yup,” I replied, “I’ll see you soon.”

He had a small gift for me - a Starbucks card. Because every time we’re together I’m drinking a coffee. I’m always so blown away when teens show their thankfulness. Not long after, a few other teens rolled into our room to get comfortable and spend their flex block there. Taylor began looking uncomfortable at one point and started to cry. I assumed that another person in the room had triggered some memory of an incident so I moved myself across the room and sat on the couch next to him. He looked at me and said;

“I just tried to kill myself 5 minutes ago”.

I calmly responded, saying, ‘Okay, can you tell me how?’ to which he showed me an empty bottle of painkillers.

This young person wrestles heavily with their identity and dysphoria. Over Christmas he was going to be seeing family that struggled to meet him where he was at with his identity. The anxiety and pain in his life was already too much with the myriad of issues and problems he faced each day. Not having that life-giving connection of unconditional love was too much to handle and the only possible escape from it all seemed to be the choice to die.

I thank the Lord that Taylor did not die that day. What could have been a tragedy ended very differently - with love from family, new understandings of the reality their child faces every single day, and connections to some new professionals to come alongside in our advocacy for him.

I am so grateful that he trusted me enough in his fear to tell me what he had done. Even amidst the chaos of the crisis, I felt like I was invited into sacred space with him and his family for the rest of that day.

Thanks for journeying with me,

Jon Pue

Serving hot chocolate at Walnut Grove Secondary 

Visiting a young person in the hospital with my team

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