1. Help one another. You know what is right —just act on your goodness.
2. No excuses. Don’t let the rules of your organization, school, tribe or brotherhood overshadow that we all belong to each other. No tradition is worth dying for.
3. Be open to possibility. Losing Carson and giving ourselves and to a certain extent our total privacy to the solution has made us set aside “our way” in favor of the collective good.
4. Grief has no rules. We felt the freedom to grieve in our own way and on our own time frame. This has included allowing ourselves to be happy. And saving a place in the darkness for Carson is okay
5. Forgiveness. Forgive yourself. Forgive the young people that did not know. Forgive the rule makers and the rule breakers.
6. Positivity inspires possibility. Certainly heartache and sorrow persist – but what gets people involved and empowered is a sense that they can make a difference.
7. Answer the phone. Friends and strangers came out of the woodwork to share their condolences but also to offer help. It was overwhelming at times, but when we could give them something to do or think about, it was rewarding and fruitful. We honor them especially and will never forget their generous hearts.
8. Don’t tolerate the B.S. It’s appropriate to be gracious when you lose a child, especially when you’re on a mission to change the status quo. We are so very grateful for all the support we’ve received, but politeness has no place when confronted with systems and attributes that continue to leave young people dead year after year. Don’t be afraid to speak the truth. Call it like you see it.
9. The answer is bigger than your problem.Help one another by working with one another. There’s a lot of responsibility and protectiveness you feel to your child’s legacy. And that is worth honoring.But to the extent their memory only goes so far and for so long... allow other people in and don’t let the past or your particular circumstances weigh you down.
10. Stay. Whether it is a friend in need, grief you want to escape, a sense of obligation that makes you uncomfortable, a hard hill to climb, or a darkness that haunts you as you seek the light ... stay. Trust that the answer is there and that capable people are near to help. The difference between anguish and resolve, between solitude and gratitude, between life and death may well be you. So stay.
And because the lessons never end, here’s one more for the future:
10X. Collaborate. The solution is unequivocally with the greater US. No one person, family, or entity is at the root of the problem and therefore it will require all of us to band together to change the culture and save these lives.