I didn’t know my cousin well. The only memory I have of him was the first time I met him. Which also happened to be the time I broke his arm.

Toward the end of my Mom’s second marriage she decided we should all visit her family back in Washington. We all flew up to spend a week with my Grandparents and visiting my cousins – Latisha, Vanessa and Jeremy. He was the youngest of the three.

We visited the local city of Richland, went on a RV trip along the border of Oregon and Washington, visited the Pacific Ocean and other family-related things.

On the final day of our visit, Jeremy and I were rough housing on the front porch. It wasn’t a very impressive porch. It rose from the gravel driveway all of two feet. Just three steps up off the ground.

I was holding him in a bear hug/hold with his back against my chest, swinging him around. I stepped a bit too close to the edge of the porch and started to loose my footing.  Fearing that I would fall on top of him I let go and he fell the two foot distance to the ground. Right on his arm, breaking it.

At that point in my life I had never felt as bad as I did. He was screaming, the adults swarmed around him and I ran into the guest bedroom and started crying. I had no idea what happend, but I knew it was all my fault.

He survived the fall and returned home very drugged up and with a new bright purple cast. Somewhere exists a video of his return, wherein he tries to talk to us about what happened and we all laughed at how silly his responses were.

The next day we said our goodbye’s and left to head back to St. Louis. I haven’t seen Jeremy since then.

Last October I went and visited my grandparents while on a business trip to Portland. I drove four hours across the same highway we had all traveled on while camping in Grandpa’s RV. I had dinner with my Grandparents and they talked about Jeremy. He was in his early twenties and was having difficulties with the recent death of his father. Additionally his parent’s divorce nearly a decade earlier wasn’t much help with a young man trying to find his place in this world.

Grandma mentioned that he was due to go to jail within the next few days on alcohol related charges. They sighed, like grandparents do, and said it was such a shame. They hoped that he would turn himself around and find direction.

Unfortunately he was unable to deal with whatever demons that had entered his life. I found out today that Jeremy took his own life as a permeant solution for what I’m sure was something temporary that could have been helped.

It’s sad to hear of a young person taking their own life. Even more so when it’s someone you know. I’m saddened and am reminded of how difficult life can be for those who are missing something that prevents them from being a whole person.

To me, and to you I hope, let this be a reminder to us all. Be an example to young people and to try and keep them on a good path.