I debated whether to share this on the blog. For many of us, fishing is an escape from the harsher realities of life, and that goes for the time we spend checking out fishing blogs. But sometimes the hard truths won't be denied. That's when we realize the deeper significance of fishing: it helps us get through the harsher realities of life.
This is Nathaniel. He was Jeremiah's friend. Last week he took his own life. He was 15 years old.
He was a gawky kid, unpopular, often bullied; his Dad had died a few years ago, and he was dealing with an unstable home life. I was proud that Jeremiah went against popular opinion and became his friend. Nathaniel came to our house several times for long weekends.
Last June he went with us to the Bass lake. He and Jeremiah had a plan: they were going to catch Bluegill and use them as bait for the monster Catfish rumored to be prowling the warm depths. They never caught a Catfish, but they had a good time trying.
Jeremiah is doing OK. He's working to make sense of it all. I suggested he might feel angry at Nathaniel for doing this. He said, "It never occurred to me to be angry at Nathaniel. I'm angry at his decision." I think Jeremiah knows more than I do what Nathaniel had to cope with, and is working to make sense of all of that as much as of what Nathaniel did.
That's something all of us should be working at, for all the kids out there still living on the edge.
Of course, I wish I had been able to do or say something that would have made the difference. It's what we do. But we did what we did, and he did what he did. That's the truth of it.
But there's another truth. For a long afternoon and evening he was at the lake with us, safe, happy, and having fun. Maybe it was a brief escape for him. Maybe it helped get him through a little longer. I don't know.
What I do know is that it was one of those "perfect moments on the water and in life" that I want this blog to be about. I wish it could have made a difference. But then again, I believe it did.