We live in a world where many people thrive on being rude to each other. The media keeps us well informed of that, which is how I found out about Seven Bridges, a 10-year-old from Louisville who hung himself at home on the morning of January 19. His mom, Tami Charles, told WHAS11 News that Seven was repeatedly bullied by students at Kerrick Elementary School over several things, one of them being he smelled.
There’s something severely wrong with our society when children are driven to suicide.
To bear racial slurs and harassment at such a young age, I'm devastated. Did they even know all he’d been through? Probably so. Born with imperforate anus and enduring colostomy surgery at birth — he was a survivor. “Twenty-six surgeries from the day my son was born. Twenty-six surgeries. He just wanted to be normal, that's all,” Tami Charles explained to WHAS11.
Much of the public believes that Seven had a colostomy at the time of his death. He did have one since birth, but in an interview posted on Tami Charles' Facebook page, she shared that last November Seven had a final surgery to reverse his stoma. Recovery was going well but he was experiencing fecal incontinence. Evidently, his classmates and even a school bus driver made hurtful comments, saying "he stinks" because he couldn't control his bowel movements.
Did they even care about his feelings? Obviously not. Nevertheless, he was determined to stay kind and respond with love. My heart hurts for Seven because I've been there. I can imagine what awful things they must have said. And one kid choked him? No wonder he couldn’t get that off his mind. Who could? And who knows, maybe he was bullied for having a colostomy bag too.
"We need to talk about this bullying. Talk about this pain. I want people to do that with their children." – Tami Charles
Regardless of whether the headlines are correct or not, the bottom line is the world lost a beautiful soul. If you believe that children are our future like I do, we must take accountably and stop pointing fingers at what we think is the problem. One of the greatest traits a human being can have is sincerity, and we need to be using it all the time, with our neighbors, family, waitresses, movers, students — everyone, all the time. If more of us practiced that, maybe our kids would be imitating us rather than devastating us.
Dear Seven, last night I had a dream. I saw you handing me a special decree, and in the distance, angels were waiting patiently. It said, “Words of compassion, words of peace. This is how I want you to remember me.” Hand over my heart, I promise to keep that message alive. Your life has meaning, and your voice will be heard. I'm so sorry we failed you.