Tuesday, May 12, 2009

One death affects so many

I was sent a copy of an article that appeared in a local paper (I don’t have a link). The article title and the fact that I have a couple of pre-prom events later this week got me thinking and writing.

The article’s title (actually a guest essay/opinion) was “A child’s death is just one effect of underage drinking” and it covers other effects of alcohol on adolescents similar to stuff I have written about before. The tangent my brain went off on, however, was the effect the death had on those connected to the teen who dies and/or the people that are affected by the death.

The teen that died and the potential lost. What or who could they have affected through their life? What relationships never formed? What discoveries would have been made? That potential never realized, at what cost and to what effect?

The death will have deep and permanent effects on the teen’s family and friends. It will have effects on everyone that those folks relate to and come into contact with, likely throughout their lives. There will be effects even on folks only peripherally “related” to the teen that dies. Effects on others at their school who may not have known them, but hear of the death, folks at their church, like a pebble into water the waves propagate outward.

Folks previously affected by death may have ‘old wounds’ reopened or at least disturbed, even folks who may just hear about it in the news. Again propagating waves.

Those that respond to the scene of the death and those that may work to save them pre-hospital and in the ER will be affected. We all like to think we are stoic and unaffected, but these deaths affect even the most seasoned.

For others injured in the incident, each would have their own cascade of affected folks. Pebbles into the water.

Lastly, you always have to have an “other” category.

One death affects so many.

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