Two teenagers who attend Salem Hills High School recently committed suicide.
Every time I hear of a suicide it really impacts me. I lost my 21 year old nephew, Jason, to suicide in 2018.
When I heard that members of the community were going to gather together outside of the high school holding up signs with words of encouragement, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. People from all around the community brought signs that they made and held them up for all the students to see as they were leaving campus.
There were people holding signs everywhere, from outside of the exit doors where students leave the building, to all the way down the streets where students walk home.
While I was painting the signs, it made me wonder if the students would think they were lame. I was curious if it would even have an impact. The plan was that I would meet my husband, Chris, there. When I got to the school, I was a little disappointed that more people with signs didn’t show up.
Feeling a little embarrassed and discouraged, I grabbed the signs and walked over to the corner exit of the parking lot. Chris showed up and we each held our signs. We stood together for a few minutes and then we each took a different corner so more students would see the signs.
There I stood feeling dumb, when all the sudden I started hearing honks. I looked up and noticed people honking and waving at our signs. I had students rolling down their car windows and yelling words such as “Thank you” and “ I love your sign.”
I had a few students personally walk up to me and tell me that the sign meant a lot to them. Buses were passing by honking as students waved at the signs. People were passing by taking pictures and making heart shapes with their fingers. We had a fire truck pass by and blow its horn as fire fighters waved.
There are 2 people though who stood out to me the most. The first was a young boy who was in the passenger seat of a car approaching me. The car stopped for a minute while waiting in line to exit the parking lot. The young boy had his head rested on his hand while leaning against his window. I could tell he was sad. He lifted his head for a moment and noticed my sign that said, “You are worthy of love”.
He put his hand down, held up his head and got a smile on his face. His whole countenance changed. It was amazing! I then walked over and joined Chris at the corner he was at. We held our signs out for the oncoming traffic driving down the road to see.
The second person that really made an impact on me was a woman who was passing by in a jeep. She looked to be in her mid 50’s. She looked emotionally exhausted and deep in thought. She turned her head towards my sign and smiled this huge smile. Her face perked right up. It was amazing to witness!
It’s cool to see how much of an impact words can have on a person. Everyone has wanted to give up at one time or another. We have all felt unloved, unworthy of love or have hurt in love at some point in time.
It was so awesome to see how much joy these signs brought to people. Sometimes all someone wants is validation and knowing everything will be okay. (Serve Daily submission.)