(For the record, I asked his family for permission before writing about this.)
A few weeks ago, my cousin’s teenage son took his own life. Like people tend to do, my first reaction was about me. What could I have done, how did I fail him, that sort of thing. When he was younger, Christian and I had a really nice relationship, although I saw him infrequently. We talked about books and music and he was excited and interesting and interested. As he got older, we talked less. I regret not making more of an effort to connect with him. This kid was bright and funny and engaging, but he was no saint, and I’m sure his issues weighed on him. The funeral was sad, but also incredibly positive. The minister was very open about it being suicide, and very forgiving. He encouraged all of the kids there (and there were a LOT) to talk to someone, even if it is just each other, about their emotions. The eulogy by one of his friends gave me the back of the head smack that I needed. Christian had a wealth of people around him who loved him and supported him. My relationship with him was… well, if not incidental, then very close to it. His mother and grandparents in particular were there for him if he had just been able to articulate his need. I still regret, but without that heavy feeling of responsibility.
His grandmother is part of our Stitch & Bitch group. A few years ago, Christian created a design for school that is essentially a quilt pattern. My aunt brought it to me to draft in EQ7, and I wrote out instructions. We discussed whether she wanted to share the pattern with others, within the family or otherwise. She decided that yes, she would like to share it. In the next few days, I’ll be posting a pattern for Christian’s Puzzle, but for now here’s a peek at his design.