CHEERING FOR LIFE

9 Sep

Cheering for Life

For the young blood, life has never been certain. When pressures come pouring in, most often than not, we tend to break down and wish that the time would just simply end and escape from the problems we keep facing every day of our lives; problems that we think are unsolvable and loads that seem to be heavy. Hence, we tend to give up easily and often forget that we can always reach out for help.

I am a cheerleader of our College’s cheering squad. And what do cheerleaders do? We try to cheer people up. We cheer for ourselves, we cheer for our college, and we cheer for the university. During events, we meet to perfect our cheer routines. Every day, we sweat to showcase a cheerful dance for other people. Every day too, the bond among us grows stronger and our enthusiasm pushes us to give more. Yet, I hardly realized, that while most of us are laughing amidst exhaustion and thirst, we don’t know what really lurks deep inside. In the guise of laughter, we seem to say, “everything is all right” and everything is perfect even if the laughter dies down. Of course, this is not always true. Not for everybody, not for him. At the back of my eye, I saw him, there he sits, silent, his sight is nowhere.

For two years that he had been with us, he has showed how he loved to cheer for other people as well. Though we seldom talk to each other and talk about personal life, I saw how he tried hard to attend, cope up with the cheer routines, and bond with us. I never thought he was in a troubled state and nobody seemed to notice at all.

During the enrollment for the first semester, when I called for another meeting for the pep squad, we wondered why he wasn’t there. Then someone broke the news. He died. Suicide.

Such death was sudden and shocking and even if the idea that he’s gone downed on me, I still could not believe it. Why?

A tremor ran down my back as his image appeared to me with haunting clarity. I closed my eyes and was immediately overcome by images and memories – his cute frame, his face with deep-set black eyes, his somber expression that could change in a second to the most heart warming grin. What I saw were images of his healthy, untroubled him and just like many friends who learned the news, I am also clueless of the reason of his death. We never expected that he would pass away in the most unexpected way.

This incident reminded me of a friend who survived of suicide in 2005. Again, we never expected him to do it because every time we see him or meet along the way, he would always smile with glowing eyes. He always seemed to be happy and contented. But with all the unexpected turns of events, he tried to kill himself of reasons we don’t know. We were all so glad that he survived and with the help of his concerned friends and loving family, they helped him recover from this tragic experience.

Recounting these experiences made me realize that suicide is like a disease and prevention is always the best cure. Now, after barely five months after we lost our dear friend in the pep squad, we found ourselves back again to our cheer routines practicing not for an upcoming competition but for an activity to remember him. On September 10, in celebration of the World Suicide Prevention Day, our performance was an activity not only to remember our pep member but also to remember other victims in our community and around the world, to pray for them, to pray for the survivors, to show support for suicide prevention, and to further spread the awareness on suicide prevention.

Yes, despite its often complex origins, suicide can be prevented. According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention, communities and societies that are well integrated and cohesive have fewer suicides. Restricting access to methods of suicide (such as firearms or pesticides) reduces suicides. Careful media reporting of suicide prevents further suicides. Educating communities and health and social services professionals to better identify people at risk of suicide, encourage them to seek help, and providing them with adequate, sustained and professional care can reduce suicides. Providing adequate support for people who are bereaved by suicide can reduce their risk of suicide. This list can get longer but it only leaves us with one message, suicide is indeed preventable.

I also believe that life’s problems can never be solved through exterminating one’s life and that suicide incidents could be prevented through collaborative efforts and proper education amongst every people in the community, the institutions and the media.

To my fellow youth, life is full of trickeries, indeed. Yet these are only God’s ways of testing our faith and strength toward dealing with life’s uncertainties. Let us take every problem as challenges to hone us to be more healthy and pro-active people. Life can be journeyed in two ways—one on the right and one on the left. Like a road, the left side is where all the challenges come in, testing the whole of us, trying to break us. However, God has given us brain to think over things; eyes to see the whole view of life; ears to hear positive whispers for life; nose to smell where danger might actually be prevented; lips to express our feelings especially in our most troubled and confused state; and sense of touch to feel that there is a hand trying to reach us to take the other side —where God is.// Joahna G. Goyagoy

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