March 3, 2007

Please Don't Go

While it's not particularly rare for me to cry with my morning tea and papers, this small story in the Toronto Star today just tore me in half.

A young girl was rescued by police officers as she prepared to jump off an overpass onto the 401. The officers held onto her, and each other, until a transport truck was brought underneath to safely let her down. Traffic was diverted. Fire, ambulance and police coordinated to save her life.

I can only imagine the fear and adrenaline racing through the wonderful people who refused to lose this girl. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in teenagers in this country. We're losing these wonderful kids who feel disconnected from a future, whose limited experience makes them believe there is no other way out. Canada leads the way in teen suicide among the industrialized nations - a rather dubious honour, don't you think?

These are our precious, wonderful children. We're all responsible for helping them make the crossing to adulthood. And anyone who pretends they can't remember their own nasty teenage years must be on another planet. I think there is a self-absorption among adults that lets us look the other way, or believe we have no hand in this tragedy. We fail as a community when we fail our children.

For those desperate moments last night, that girl was the most important thing in many, many people's lives. Why can't she know she's that important all the time?


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