“I Love You”

I cannot stress the importance of showing love.

And no, I’m not talking about the Valentinesy, cutesy, couply gag-worthy PDA drenched shows of affection. I’m not even talking about romantic love.

Last Tuesday was my birthday. That night I was surrounded by friends, enjoying life together in an environment that radiated love and happiness. It absolutely tears me apart to know that sitting in his home that same night, one of my students felt so unloved and desperately alone that he concluded it was better to die than go on living.

I struggled to bite back tears as I was told Wednesday morning that he hung himself the night before. I have many students, and I admittedly do not know the names of most of them, but he stood out in my memory from day one. He was one of my favorite students; the sweetest, most sincere, intelligent, wonderful 17-year-old boy I have had the pleasure of meeting. You teach these kids each week and despite the language barrier you develop relationships with them, and his death shakes me to the core and it breaks my heart.

It breaks my heart that he felt like his own father didn’t love him, it breaks my heart that from an outsiders perspective it was obvious he was surrounded by people that loved him to the end of the earth yet he couldn’t see it. I have struggled with this news the past couple of days, I can’t even imagine what his close friends and family are going through.

So stop. Stop reading this post, stop doing whatever you are doing, and close your eyes for a second. Who do you see? Tell them you love them. Look your kids in the eye and say, “I love you. No matter what, I will always love you.” Call up your best friend and let them know how much they mean to you. Don’t let those moments where you have the opportunity to tell someone how truly important they are to you fly past.

Tell them. Show them.

Because you never know how much they may need to know it.

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