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Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Anatomy of a Tragedy

Lately I've been thinking about a tragic death that occurred nearly two years ago. Once I explain what happened, I'll tell you why it has been on my mind as of late. Nearly two years ago, a young man passed away from a drug overdose. He wasn't even 25 years old. Sadly, it isn't an uncommon occurrence.

While I can't say that I ever considered him a friend, he was much more than just a simple acquaintance. We grew up together, and we had more in common that I ever realized. He was a year younger than me, and his sister was a year old than me. His parents were good friends with my aunt and uncle, as well as my parents.

His older sister and my older cousin were good friends once, and our three families took a few vacations together. It was during these vacations that I grew to know him as a boy who loved anything to do with racing (all types) and snowmobiles. We were both the type to kind of disappear into the backgrounds of these group vacations.

During school, we never really talked or spent time together, although I do remember him as someone who always felt that he had something to prove. You see, he was a very short man. Throughout high school, he was not much taller than me if at all. I'd be surprised if he was five foot five inches when finished growing. Both of his parents were short and as silly as it seems, whenever I felt sorry for myself for being so short (five foot even), I would think of him. No matter how bad short women may have it in our society, short men have it much worse.

I'm ashamed to say this, but after I graduated from high school, I really didn't think about him at all until I learned that he had passed away. While I have experienced my share of death over the last few years, nothing prepared me for this. I just kept asking myself "Why did this have to happen?" I couldn't even bring myself to go to the funeral.

Later, I saw his Mom at another funeral, and she just gave me a great big hug. Undoubtedly, she was thinking of better days when her children where still that - children. Close to a year after seeing her at the funeral, I saw both of his parents at my cousin's wedding. It was the first time I saw the family since the tragedy. While outwardly it may have appeared that they were having a good time, I couldn't help but wonder what was going through their minds. I couldn't help but think that they would never get to see their son marry or have children.

As of late, I've talked a lot about men and short stature on this site, but I have yet to discuss the two issues together. There is certainly a part of me that wonders if this young man turned to drugs, at least in part, due to a sense of inadequacy as a result of his stature. I learned from his obituary that he was pursuing three separate bachelors degrees. As a woman who obtained two, it isn't something that is done without having something to prove, even if you are just trying to prove something to yourself.

I'll be posting more on these issues soon as I've come across some additional information on growth hormone. It appears that growth hormone is a hot topic right now. It is becoming another example of why the federal government needs to quit sticking its nose everywhere.


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At 8:10 PM, Blogger DADvocate said...

Growing up, and beyond, I have been struck by how many pass away before us. For me, this first happened in the first grade when a girl in may class and her family went to Florida during Christmas break. Her brother, a year older, drowned in the ocean. The entire student body of our Catholic school attended the funeral, my first.

In high school, one of my best friends and team mate on the basketball team was killed in an auto accident along with a girl. Another friend in the car became severely and permanently brain damaged.

During high school and since a few other friends and family members passed away before their time. When it happens it always seems like the world went out of sync for a moment.

Your take on him taking drugs to compensate for his height may be correct. In most of the untimely deaths I've been familiar with I felt over compensation, bad judgment, or some sort of psychological compulsion was involved. I also feel it's especially sad when a parent out lives one or more of their children.

At 8:21 PM, Blogger russelllindsey said...

I think outliving your children is one of the worst things there is. My Dad's older brother passed away before the age of 16. While I never knew him or my biological grandfather (he passed away about 6 years later), I know the impact that their deaths had on my Dad and my Grandma. There was a time when my parents thought that I was kidnapped somewhere in Columbia or Houston, TX (it is a very long story), but the next day, when I was home safe and sound, that is when I saw my Dad the most upset I've ever seen him. You could tell that that experience brought back memories of losing his Dad and his brother. He was very overprotective of my sister, my brother, and me growing up, and I can certainly understand why.



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