Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Boy's Crushed Spirit

Last evening Laurent and I had a reunion of sorts with old friends and colleagues from my Air Canada days. I wish I could say it was a joyous occasion but sadly we had come together to give our support to a friend and colleague and her family as they dealt with the loss of their young son. We were amongst a crowd of people who had come to the funeral parlor to express our sorrow at the suicide death of 15 year old Jamie Hubley.

I had trained Jamie's mother Wendy when she first came to Ottawa Airport and worked with her for many years after. I knew her husband Al and had met various members of her family over the years. Though not close - retirement and distance means you lose contacts with so many people - we were friends on Facebook and I was shocked when she posted a brief message there on Saturday. Further details became available as the weekend progressed and the tragic circumstances surrounding Jamie's death filled me with great sadness.  He had problems and struggled with depression but his family had made sure that he was being given help and when he came out they gave him all the support that a loving family could. Unfortunately that could not shield him from the bullying, name calling and harassment that he endured because he was a figure skater when he was younger or that was to be the result of his coming out at high school.

On his blog Jamie had recorded his anguish, frustration and perhaps most heart-breakingly his dreams.  And more recently he had spoken from that dark and lonely place that often leads to an act that cuts short a promising life and the heart out of a family.

Last evening as we sat waiting in the chapel to join the condolence line we watched a slideshow of a blond boy, more often than not smiling at the camera, in photos that captured those moments of any child's life - Christmas, vacation, covered with measles, receiving skating medals, in school plays -  growing up surrounded by family and friends.  That same family, all wearing rainbow ribbons, greet those friends and so many others, surrounded by mementos of Jamie's passions and accomplishments.  Though they were meant to celebrate his life they were also a reminder of much that has been lost with his death.

Ironically Jamie's funeral was held today - Spirit Day - a day set aside to show support for LGBT teenagers who have been the victims of bullying.  Yesterday to remind us of the day and its meaning my friend Cecilia wrote this "status" on Facebook:
No matter what your beliefs, look into your heart. Children should be Loved, not compelled to suicide, not bullied or murdered.  And not having an adult they can turn to gives these children no hope or guidance. If you can't find it in your heart to accept, can you at least not promote intolerance? I'm pretty sure from what I recall from my religious training in my early years that Jesus really wasn't so much into hate or violence.
Al, Wendy and the family have expressed the hope that talking about Jamie's death may do some good and make people aware of effects of teenage depression, bullying and homophobia .  "He had dreams and we want to help those dreams come true. So if by sharing our pain that'll happen, then it's good," Al said in an interview.  "Our boy won't be gone in vain."

20 ottobre/october - Spirit Day

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Debra She Who Seeks said...

Yes, I've been reading about Jamie in the newspapers the last few days. My heart goes out to him and to his family. I hope every person who was at his funeral or who has been touched by his story will do whatever they can to stop bullying and promote acceptance of being gay. I hope every kid or adult who ever bullied him feels bad today and realizes the error of their ways.

David said...

Nothing sadder than the waste of all that promise. It shows what a long way we still have to go with bullying - which will always be there given all that adolescent chaos and confusion - and attitudes to gay teenagers. So sorry for your friend's loss.

yvette said...

From distance, dear friends and dearest Willym, may I share your sorrows. This is heartbreaking. Yes, Tolerance is badly needed everywhere. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Why can't we just love each other for our uniquiness?
How sad.

Cecilia said...

I am so, so very sorry to hear of this loss of yet another bright soul.