I would like to introduce you to my new friend, Bobbi Jo. You need to meet her. Your children need to meet her. Your school principal and family doctor need to meet her. Your next door neighbor needs to meet her. Yet, I still wish she was not my new friend. We have a common bond, I so wish neither of us have. But, if you don’t meet her, you or someone you care about dearly may have to join the same club we are in. You do not want to join our club. This club should not even exist. Our club does not display pictures of ourselves. It displays pictures of teenagers and young children who died playing a game. But, it’s really not a game. How can you call it a game if it kills? It’s the choking game. Her son, Kris, only 15 years old, died barely 5 weeks ago. Bobbi Jo is just one of numerous moms I’ve met in the last four years. She is just the newest member in our club.
Tomorrow will be four years our son, Matthew, died in an accident in our home. I’d like to skip over the “accident” which some would like me to refer to it as. I really don’t want our son remembered for only how he died. I want him remembered for his love for Jesus, for the cheese cakes he made from scratch for my pregnancy cravings. I want him remembered for sharing Jesus with an elderly man he wanted to make sure would go to heaven and the Christian faith rings he wore, hoping others would ask him what they meant. But, I cannot skip over his death. I will when I don’t read of more deaths like his. I will when the awareness is there just like it is about drugs, sex and drinking. Our son did something dumb, like many kids (and adults) do. This choking game took his life. This game is also known as “Blackout, Fainting Game, Space Monkey, Dream Game, Suffocation, Roulette, Passout, Flatliner, California High, Airplaning, Space Monkey, American Dream, Funky Chicken, Tingling, Gasp.” (info from G.A.S.P – Games Adolescents Shouldn’t Play)
On WKOW 2, Madison, Wisconsin’s TV station website, it states facts all parents need to know:
- It’s a game that kills anywhere from 250 to 1000 people each year around the world. [I believe the reason there is such a variable in how many is because many deaths are ruled suicide rather than from the choking game]
- In a recent survey of kids in the US, 75 percent said they’re familiar with the choking game.
- Deputy Holmes says the choking game is often referred to as the good kids game, because the kids who play it, are not necessarily the kids you would associate with risky behaviors like doing drugs and drinking alcohol.
Though my heart does not ache as it did four years ago, Matthew’s death is still like an amputation that will always sting, the wound reopening, and his absence visible to those that loved him. Please talk to your kids. If you homeschool, it does not mean that your kids won’t learn of this. Talk to your kid’s friend’s parents. Bring awareness of this to your school principal, to your pastor, your youth leaders, boy scouts, camp directors, etc. We thought we had our kids sheltered, but evilness still sneeks in.
Please don’t feel sorry for me, and tell me I am strong. Instead, share with the people you love, then tell me that a life was saved because of Matthew’s death. Tell me another soul has a chance to come to know Jesus because he/she stopped this game. Tell me, so on our cloudy days when our hearts weep again I am reminded that, “It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus“.
To learn how to get involved with sharing about the deadly choking game with your family and community, please visit G.A.S.P – Games Adolescents Shouldn’t Play.
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In Memory of our Son ~ Matthew’s Story
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