Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Carrying a Heavy Load

Grace and greetings.

Just like this large truck we found a couple of weeks ago, there is something so heavy in our community that even this weight bearing truck could not hold, the reality of death and suicide here in the North Slope.

Saturday morning, alcohol and a gun concluded with another death of a young man here in Barrow. Whether it was accidental, intentional or otherwise, it resulted in his death. This is the third death with the same elements in as many months here in Barrow alone, along with other deaths throughout the North Slope. The worst part of the deaths, is that close family and friends are not willing to accept that the young men, (the three deaths have all been males), could have a hand in their own deaths.

Suicide, again, intentionally or accidentally, need to be acknowledged and talked about openly. For some reason, the communities still hold on to the stigma of suicide can only be talked about in secret, and a great family dark skeleton locked away in the family closets.

I understand the hurt and pain that any death will bring, especially that of young men still in their early to mid twenties. I have heard from people, including a young woman who called me a couple of days ago about the death last month. She continued to refuse to hear or acknowledge that the young man had any involvement in his own death. She yelled and screamed at me, as well as those who were with her when the phone call was make, that the young man was murdered, and the murderer was still out there somewhere in Barrow. The young woman's friends were trying to calm her and help her to see the truth, but she just could not accept what others were telling her.

In some respects, the caller was correct, the murderer is still out there; the murderer's name: Alcohol, Guns and Silence. The more the families and friends allow the murderer to continue, the more lives will be lost.

There are groups that are trying to address these issues, of silence and death. People are starting to become organized to talk about the situations; trying to bring understanding and healing to the community. It will take time, energy, compassion, listening and prayer to overcome the great silence.

I ask for your prayers for our communities in the North Slope, that we may find ways to speak out and find a way to stop the deaths. In the meantime, I will be officiating another funeral tomorrow afternoon for yet another grieving family.

Peace and blessings.

1 comment:

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