Wednesday, August 8, 2012

for bryce

yesterday afternoon, my little sister, liz's, best friend took his own life with a gun.

without a doubt, bryce was the most amazing fifteen year-old boy i've ever met.

bryce was someone who, first and foremost, was focused on ways to love and serve others. completely without guile, bryce was the greatest example of charity. when my family first moved to the highland area last year, bryce was the first person to come over, introduce himself, and welcome my parents and lizzie to the neighborhood. his countenance shown and my sisters and i referred to him as "the prince."

lizzie joked that bryce was the glue that held my family together because he was always over at the house helping out my parents or taking care of our family dog, archie. archie loved bryce.

when liz had a small part in the school musical, bryce came to see the performance and afterwards gave lizzie some chocolates and a card that said she was the best part of the show. not because he was trying to "woo" her, but because he was the sweetest, kindest friend.

i always had a special place in my heart for bryce because he reminded me of fifteen year-old chas. bryce was tall and handsome. a bit on the quiet side, he never exuded anything but love and pure goodness with his sweet smile and glowing countenance. the kind of boy that all the kids respected, the parents adored, and the girls had secret crushes on.

absolutely nobody could have predicted what happened yesterday. it totally blindsided everyone.
even now, my head is reeling with sadness, shock, confusion, and questions. to be honest, i didn't even think bryce knew what suicide was. not because he was dumb or ignorant- but because he was just that good.

after hearing the devastating news, i suggested that all the youth and parents in the neighborhood gather together and create a huge memory mural for bryce's family. in my work as an art therapist, i've had the opportunity to go to schools in the wake of a suicide and provide this type of support both through the art and through counseling.

so last night, at 9pm, my parent's house was filled with young men, young women, and parents who knew and loved bryce. we all sat down together and there was a time for people to share their memories of bryce and their thoughts surrounding his death. we then all walked down the street to bryce's house, stood together in the dark, and sang the hymn, "i am a child of god," outside his house. everyone then returned to my parent's house and worked on the memory mural.

last night, was probably the third time in our marriage that i've ever seen chas really, truly cry.

This morning, i was praying to have peace and comfort surrounding bryce's death. a short while later, a thought came to me.

i started thinking of all the ways in which i'd like to be more like bryce. how i want to be able to think of others before myself. how i want to be able to serve with a happy and willing heart. how i want to be able to always have the kind of love for others the way bryce did. i then started thinking that, whenever i'm faced with a decision or situation in which i'd normally find myself criticizing others, hesitant to serve, or self-absorbed, i can ask myself a simple question. "what would bryce do?" i can then choose to LOVE the way bryce loved. in this way, i can personally help bryce's goodness to live on, through my choices and the example he set for all of us. bryce's physical body may be gone but his light can be spread every where through different, more loving, choices i hope to make in his honor.

i'm grateful i had the chance to know bryce.
r. i. p.


Hannah DeVries said...

what a beautiful and thoughtful tribute.

Mandy said...

What a beautifully written post for someone who sounds like a wonderful person.

Thoughts and prayers with you all.

Anonymous said...

Bryce sounds like he was a very unique and lovely kid. I am so sad that the world won't have the opportunity to experience what he would have done as an adult. I'm also so incredibly sad that he experienced so much pain and suffering alone. No one should have to go through that alone.
Thank you Sam for helping his community as they heal. My thoughts are with you, your family, and Bryce's loved ones.

little said...

i'm so sorry for your loss.

love, little

Amy said...

Oh my goodness, my heart is breaking for Bryce right now. This is an amazing tribute, and I will definitely do my part to try and let Bryce's light live on through my own actions. Praying for Bryce's family, and yours as well.

Clandestine Road said...

That is so sad. What a touching tribute.

meme-and-he said...

oh, what a horrible thing to go through. About a year a and a half ago, a similar situation happened in my life. Its so devistating, confusing, and helpless. Thankfully, God's love and community around us carried us during that time. I pray that God shows you blessings during this difficult time.

emma said...

what a beautiful tribute to what sounds like such a sweet, kind boy. my heart breaks for you and his family and friends. how perfect that you were able to use your unique training to help in such a sad time. prayers xoxo.

Sarah said...

i am balling. well said.

Rad Rachel said...

What a sad thing. That was so good of you to put this sweet post together. So much of the time people just don't know how much they are cared and loved for. Each time I hear of these endings I wonder how good I've been at telling people how wonderful they are and how much they are needed in this life. It's good to take these tragic stories and learn from them.

I'll keep you all in my prayers :)

Elissa said...

I found your blog and this post through Amy. This story is a testament to the fact that you never know the inward battles others are facing. your work sounds wonderful and it is such a blessing that through your work you were able to bring people together to physically do something with their grief and their love for bryce. prayers for your sister, your whole family and all those who knew bryce.

I will try my best to live more like bryce and let his light continue to shine and be spread in the world.

candace said...

I am so sorry for your loss! I'm glad that you have already found a way to give it meaning and an ever-living purpose in your life.

Amanda said...

What a beautiful post about a wonderful young man. I am so sorry for the loss and pain you and your family and Bryce's family are going through. Thank you for your wonderful words.

I'm Sydney. said...

What a touching post. I wanted to cry... we don't always understand, do we? What a wonderful boy. I'm so, so sad to hear he's gone.

Annton Beate Schmidt said...

this is heartbreaking and beyond words, but you guys handle it with great dignity . bryce is gone, but with your help and love, he will keep a place in the hearts of the ones who know him.

Erin said...

so beautifully and honestly written. you are sweet and talented.

Alexis Kaye said...

This is so sad to hear. It sounds like you're remembering him in the greatest way possible. I'm so sorry for you, your family, and especially your sister.

Rachael said...

Wow, that's such sad news. I'm sorry for your family's loss. But those were wonderful words to read in honor of your friend. I hope that his family heals, and that your family will as well.

A Jax said...

sounds like bryce gave more to this world in his short 15 years than some of us do in a whole lifetime.

i'm due with a baby boy in two weeks, and we have chosen the name bryce....I truly hope I can raise him to be as you described this bryce.

thank you for sharing such a personal experience. and what an awesome blessed thing for you to share your art therapy to grieve. it does help me stop and think about things I take for granted and who might be facing an inward struggle no one else knows about and to always treat each other with kindness and love.

Jenna said...

My uncle was an amazing, talented man with the voice of an angel and the hands of the most skilled crafstman. He took his own life on April 6, 2010, two weeks after my son was born and the day before my 23rd birthday. It was truly the most painful experience of my life, and then two weeks later my grandmother passed away from cancer. I still cannot talk about the pain from that time in my life without crying, including right now.

I have a theory that those who do take their own lives are hurting in a way we will never understand and they will find peace in the hereafter. I know my uncle has. I KNOW.

So sorry for your family's loss. Hugs.