Just to begin, I don’t “blog”. What is that? I also don’t like to talk to audiences. My grammar and my punctuation will be imperfect. I also admit that I have a Texas twang that might be perceived as lacking in depth somehow. Please understand, however. I have a message from my heart.
It is Braden’s voice with which I wish to speak. – Braden’s Dad
“It isn’t enough for kids to not bully. I need someone who cares enough to invite me, to ask about my life, and to be a real friend.” –Braden Speed
I just woke from a dream.
This was one of those dreams that is just “too real”. You pinch or punch yourself to come to consciousness, but you can’t awaken from the experience. All your efforts just confirm it as… Real.
I have several friends and family members who have advised me to begin a journal after Braden took his life October 30, 2018. They suggested writing down important experiences for later recall as often we forget too quickly the details in life that are so very crystal clear in the moment. “Even when you wake from a dream, write it down”. Guess this is one of those moments and one appropriate to begin sharing from the heart about our story.
In this “Dream”, our son Braden was in a living room sitting on a couch. This was not our home. It was a home where we were visiting. The room was filled with an overly bright amount of sunlight pouring into the room through an oversized window, literally the size of an entire wall. Although the room was starkly bright, we were very sad.
I was consoling my wife, Cathy in the kitchen area. As I left her side, I noticed our son, Braden near the brightly lit window with his back to me. He was sitting sideways and twisted in a chair. I couldn’t see his face. He was in his pajama bottoms with no shirt (his favorite ensemble and the last thing he wore).
I went to check on him. He was melancholy which had become common. I patted his stomach and hugged him from behind. I began to weep, kissing and smelling his hair. I loved to do that. As he turned to me he had tears running down his cheeks. They were pouring from his eyes. His face was red. He’d been crying silently but I hadn’t known. I kissed his head and kept holding him very tightly and weeping.
Suddenly, I became aware this was not real. It was a dream. “Oh, Braden. I wish you hadn’t gone”. He replied, “I do too, daddy”. Then we both just cried together.
Then I woke in tears…
Though we can’t bring our son back, we believe God can use our story to help save others.
Parent. Teen. Teacher. School administrator. Families:
Our story is unique. That’s what makes a story. However, this is a story far too common these days. Teens are very often seriously considering the option of leaving this world early and before they get through the teen experience. It’s a story happening in so many homes. A story you’d never image is unfolding behind too many gorgeous facades of affluence. It is a much longer story than suitable for this blog. It could easily fill volumes.
However, the message is very simple: It’s not enough to just be “nice” in this world. To make a real and lasting impact on depression and suicide, first we must be consciously/ intentionally seeking out those around us who are not being included. Secondly, we must be bold to invite and include them; and most crucial is to stay, even when it’s not easy. In so doing, both individuals are made better and perhaps our world becomes purpose driven in others versus focused on ourselves.
Words Braden places on our hearts will be shared, but right now we really do need this first one to go out urgently. Kids are dying or they are contemplating doing so because they aren’t living lives with purpose.
Readers: This is a rough start and I can’t say how often updates will be posted. I begin my full time job again mid-January. My company has been so gracious to allow some time but life will return to “normal”. I just want to use this time to at least begin messaging as we feel moved.
We are called to teach our children the way in which they should go. Our prayer is we can help the “Bradens” who can still be saved. My prayer is the words placed on our family’s hearts will be those of the Holy Spirit and to serve as Braden’s Voice.