A 10-year-old Kentucky boy allegedly committed suicide after he was tormented at school for wearing a colostomy bag (full story here in case you missed it). This precious child took his own life because his classmates made fun of him. Sadly, our world is filled with horrible bullying stories. But, this one really hit me hard because while I was a grown woman and (to my knowledge) no one made fun of me… I wore a bag for a while and I understand the feelings that go along with it.

You may have heard my Podcast which gives all of the details of my ordeal. But, yeah, after a surgical error, I was forced to wear a bag while my bowel healed. It sounds like it was a permanent situation for this sweet boy. And I can’t even imagine how that must’ve felt at his young age.

If only those classmates would have been educated about the fact that he was alive because of it. He went through 26 unsuccessful surgeries to fix his issues. That alone is something no one should have to endure. If only…

I’m positive that growing up, I saw things that were ‘weird’ or ‘not normal’ or ‘different’ and judged them. I’m 100% sure of it. I see my own kids stare or comment (sometimes loudly) about things like that. As a mother who knows better, I am often mortified in those moments. But, I also look at them as teaching moments! I’ve had many talks about many things with my kids - letting them know that this world is made up of ALLLLLLL different kinds of people and one isn’t better than the other. We’re all different and I tell them that I view that as a lot more interesting than if we were all clones of one another. They’re getting it. They’re catching on.

But, I truly believe it is our responsibility as adults/parents to DO THAT! How else will they learn? How else will they know?

Bullying happens every single day for so many reasons… sometimes for no reason at all. It’s terrifying as a mom to think that my kids might face that. No one is safe from it. The son of a mom friend of mine is dealing with it right now and my heart breaks with every story she tells. He is the BEST kid! It disgusts me that for whatever reason other kids feel they have the right to try to ruin someone else. So crushing.

I guess that’s why I’m an open book about my struggles. When I started opening up about different things in my life and realized I wasn’t alone… it gave me such comfort! I want to give that to others. I hope you’ll take a chance and join me in doing that. Even if it’s opening up and relating to one other person — that can make such a difference. No one is perfect. We’re all on this crazy journey through life with its ups and downs.

I’m sorry, sweet boy. I’m sorry that you felt so alone and embarrassed. If only you could have known there are more than half a million people in the United States who live with an ostomy. Look, it was hard to ‘take care of’ as an adult! I can’t imagine how you struggled with cleanliness and things like that as a little boy. May you rest in peace and may no other child have to feel the way you did.

We can do better.

Jennifer Waldman