oday, 10-11-12, is Worldwide Choking Game Awareness day. I wish I could give you the warnings of it, without personal experience. I wish I knew about it eight years ago, would have known the signs, so it would have prevented the death of our 16 year old son, Matthew. I wish I did not see my son’s name on a gravestone. Our “9-11” devastated us on 12-11-04, nearly 8 years ago.
There is much I could write about of Matthew and the changes it has made in our lives – the gaps in pictures, missing him at two weddings so far, the pictures that do not age beyond 16 for him, and finding our “new normal”. But I know he’d want me to share about the choking game – that it does kill, even the first time, even with “precautions”. I’ve learned through the years that it seems to take the “good kids” the ones that would never do drugs . . . because it seems harmless and won’t hurt anyone. I’ve made new friends I wish I had not have . . . we share a bond of moms who have lost children to this game that there is no winners in. I know several Christian families, even pastor’s families, who have children die from playing this.
Before Matthew died, we had never heard of it. Suicide did not make sense. And then the pieces came together, and coroner’s office confirmed his death to this. We may never know fully where he learned it from, but we have learned, most kids in junior high and highschool are very aware are of it – play it at school, on buses, at parties, many first with someone, then alone.
If you happen to be a kid or someone who is doing this and reading this, please know that this will affect your entire family and friends, forever when this takes your life. It will hurt many, from the person who finds you to the area that has to be dramatically changed. Parents will blame themselves with the “what ifs”. Siblings will wish they had not said things to you before. Friends will wish they had told someone you were doing this. And then the family has years of grieving to go through, all the firsts, seconds, and continual birthdays and death day remembrances. It’s not a game.
I am thankful that I know where Matthew is, in heaven, with his Savior. Yes, he did a stupid thing (don’t we all?), yet he made the smartest decision of his life when he was a young boy, asking Jesus to be in his life. He loved the Lord, and shared Him with others. I believe Satan knew he could be a godly leader, and he wanted to prevent him from to telling others of Jesus. There’s continual temptations in our lives and he succumbed to it. I know despite his earthly death, he lives forever in heaven, and we will be reunited again, for, forever. For now, there are tears and we miss him always. Someday our tears will be completely wiped away.
Parents . . . please talk to your children . . . they probably know about this game already. Please share with them that kid’s do die. Show them our son’s memorial page. The reason the date, 10-11-12, was picked for awareness, is because it represents the age range when most children learn of the game.
Kid’s . . . this is a killer game. Tell your friends to stop; tell someone of authority if you know someone is doing this. You may save their life. Please do not let your parents have to bury you because of this game.