Sorry, Jamey, this is the best I could do …

Jamey Rodemeyer

We’ve lost another one. His name was Jamey Rodemeyer and he was 14 years old.

Whenever I read a story like this one or this, I just feel totally devastated. So much promise, so much to give, and then in a moment it’s all gone. Jamey wanted things to get better. He tried to convince himself and others they would get better. But things didn’t get better for Jamey, at least not better enough.

As one of the co-founders of the It Gets Better project said on his blog: The point of the “It Gets Better” project is to give kids like Jamey Rodemeyer hope for their futures. But sometimes hope isn’t enough. Sometimes the damage done by hate and by haters is simply too great. Sometimes the future seems too remote. And those are the times our hearts break. Count my heart among those that are breaking.

I just had a post a week ago about the failure of the school system in Anoka, Minnesota, to protect kids against bullying. That doesn’t appear to have been the case here. Jamey had been bullied, no doubt about it, but it’s hard to know from reading the story exactly what he was feeling and thinking in those final moments of his life.

Look, I don’t know if anyone out there reading my blog or my story ever thinks about suicide. I hope not because suicide is never the answer. Never! If you do think about it, however, please talk to someone. I’m not going to try to kid you into believing that everything will get better just by talking or just by growing older or just by graduating from high school. It doesn’t work like that.

Life is hard. But it can get better and there are people who can help.

More importantly, there are people who want to help. People who love you. People whose lives will be devastated if you’re no longer a part of it. Don’t believe it? You’re wrong!

There are people who love you. Please let them into your life. They want to be part of it. They want to help make it better.

10 thoughts on “Sorry, Jamey, this is the best I could do …

  1. If you read the article on the blog make sure to click the link to view his “It gets better” video. It made me cry. I feel like I should do something. There are so many type of outreach to suicide prevention, we have hotlines to call, forums to talk to, celebrities trying to spread messages of love and acceptance, but it isn’t enough. So what, what could we possibly do? Brainstorm with me here. I just want to go hug anyone I see that looks sad. I try to endorse the philosophy that if we all treat everyone with kindness and respect then pay it forward that the world wouldn’t suffer, but even that is not enough.

    It’s just so sad, and we just forget about it over time. It’s real and it hurts.

  2. I’ve been looking at Jamey’s picture for the longest time now and I’ve finally figured it out. I use to have a black and white check shirt like the one he’s wearing in that picture. It was actually one of my favorites. Okay, yeah, go ahead and make fun of me. I’ll admit I was never the best dressed in my class 🙂

    I don’t know why but, the thing is, it makes me feel closer to him somehow.

    I don’t know what the answer is either, Dex. There probably isn’t a single answer. But I think in the end it has to start in the school for someone like Jamey. There have to be kids his age who are sensitive enough to understand when someone they go to school with is in pain and courageous enough to reach out and help.

    In Jamey’s case, it seems like the girls liked him and defended him. What was missing, it seems, was the absence of any friends among other boys his age. Boys Jamey’s age are so sensitive to what others think. Jamey had been tagged as gay. Not all of the boys bullied him, of course, only some. But it seems like none of the other boys were courageous enough to reach out to him, to risk being his friend and losing some of their other friends for taking that risk.

    Sound familiar? Maybe I’m wrong about what happened to Jamey. I would like to know more. But if I’m not wrong, it sure sounds familiar to me.

  3. Sounds very familiar. Kids can be so cruel. Society doesn’t help at all. Life can be so simple yet social interacting tends to be such a bitch.

    On a side note, checkered shirts are hot. Who would make fun of that? I have a nice tricolor check, orange red and white. It’s one of my favorites too. People stare, because the colors are mesmerizing of course.

  4. I’ve added some links to gay youth resources up there on the right if you’re young, alone and looking for help. If I missed a terrific resource, feel free to let me know.

    By the way, these are good resources for anyone who needs help so you only have to be young at heart to access them 🙂

  5. Anderson Cooper did a terrific piece on this story. Here is the YouTube link.

    And here is a follow-up article worth reading. It’s hard to say whether anything will come of this and it won’t bring Jamey back in any event. But hopefully it will remind us just how fragile kids can be. One minute they seem to be coping just fine; and then the next minute they’ve sunk back into the depths of depression. Kids like Jamey need continuing support. One talk, one pat on the back, isn’t going to be enough in most cases.

    I hope everyone will read this posting before reading Chapter 17 of my story.

  6. Saddened! Reading your eloquent tribute to Jamey and then watching Anderson Cooper’s story reminded me of the many beautiful people in the world that often die way before their time. Jamey obviously was another one of those – a caring and giving young man that had so much potential to share yet felt the pressures from some being just too great to continue.

    Another, was a young man I was in high school with – we grew up as young children, playing in the open fields. He was an accomplished athlete in football and baseball, a versed performer both vocally and theatrically, and, above all, a wonderful and caring friend to everyone he met – i’m sure, very similar to Jamey and other GLBT youth throughout the world. Like Jamey, he too couldn’t cope with the stresses of being bullied and taunted because of the differences he felt. Instead of celebrating and embracing differences, many in society are taught to scorn and ridicule those differences – 1920’s, 1960’s, September 18, 2011.

    When will we all learn the beauty of diversity is so much brighter than the dark ugliness of discrimination and hate? When will some in society stop using religion, something that always teaches love, to teach just the opposite? How many more amazing men and women have to be lost before the ignorance of hate stops or is stopped? It stops with one saying that’s enough … and then another … and then another. Society, I do have hope, I do believe in you, I know there’s more love in the you than hate, I know there’s strong men and women, like myself, who are willing to stand as role models of inclusion and diversity. It saddens me today that the ugliness of society caused yet another death … it saddens me today that a strong and willing role model wasn’t able to reach Jamey and Shaun and the many nameless others with the encouragement that they needed in that moment of despair. Let us hope that this is enough to stop the ignorance of some and the despair of others.

    Jamey, Shaun, others … it’s the least we can do as a tribute and apology to each of you.

  7. What a terrible loss to society. It just tears your heart out to read of another who got so desperate that suicide was the only way out. How sad nobody noticed this beautiful young man was isolated and hurting. Sadder still, some of the bullies are those unsure of their own sexuality. We have to find ways to reach out to these tortured young men, to let them know there are resources to help them cope with getting through the doubt and hurt. May God hold Jamey close and comfort him.

  8. Jamey was a fan of Lady Gaga. Last evening she did a very nice tribute to him in Las Vegas at the 2011 iHeartRadio music festival. Here is a link to her tribute to Jamey on YouTube.

    Sadly, if you glance at some of the comments following the video, you’ll see far too many filled with the kind of hatred that contributed to Jamey’s death. So, yes, even in death, there are some who are shameless in their homophobia.

    As with all bullies, their own words reveal what total losers they are.

  9. What amuses me is the homophobic idiots take the time to go watch a Lady Gaga video in order to spread their hatred. Lets face it, freedom of speech is good and bad. I miss life before internet. People were less arrogant about their little opinions back then.

    Anyway, I’m glad she takes initiative in trying to help.

  10. I hope some day We change and we stop losing people. I do know we have made some progress…and I know a lot more is needed. Wish people would tolerate differences and stop teaching hate and preaching it…I raise my children to respect differences …we need more straight gay friendly alliances .. More positive role models gonna happen lol we are not going away !!!! Cheers Jamie hope you push us future ahead we owe you ……Change

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