Friday, November 4, 2011

Please Pray, Reflect and Discuss

Death is never easy, but the death of a child is even more difficult to accept. It is even more challenging when that death is a suicide.
My children attend Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado. Because they attend this school, our family immediately becomes a part of the amazing and loving Regis Jesuit Community. In the course of the past 4 years we have shared mostly joy but also great sadness within this extended family known as Regis Jesuit. Last Thursday one of my son's teammates took his own life. Words can not express the enormous grief the family and community is experiencing at this time. Dominick will be laid to rest on Monday. I share with you this event not to bring you sadness, but awareness. I challenge each of you reading this post to discuss and share the topic of suicide with your loved ones. Discuss life's challenges and obstacles and how we can help each other through the most difficult times. Make it well known to the ones you love that there is absolutely nothing they could do that would change your love for them, and no obstacle that can't be tackled. Please refer to the resources provided by our school. Copy them and share them with the ones you love.
Please pray for this family and all who loved this young man. Pray for the countless others who are affected by suicide and the devastating trail it leaves behind.
Rest in Peace Dom.

Regis Jesuit High School

Dear Parents,

Many of you have already heard the sad news of the death of one of our Regis Jesuit students. Last night, junior Dominick Doyle took his own life. Dominick was the older brother of Boys Division freshman Donovan and Girls Division freshman Aly. Early this morning Fr. Kevin Dyer and Fr. Phil Steele prayed with Dominick’s parents, Derrick and Flo, at the hospital and blessed Dominick’s body. We will let everyone know when the funeral arrangements have been made.

The devastation, grief and confusion being felt by the Doyle family is shared by the entire community of Regis Jesuit. I know how readily and generously our families will step forward to offer the Doyles the support and help that they will need to get through these dark days. Here at school, we are trying to maintain a sense of calm and normalcy as much as possible, but also to attend to those students who are most deeply affected by this tragic event. All day today, the counselors, pastoral team, and administrators are available for those who would like to talk. We told the students that anyone wishing to do that should simply ask the teacher to be dismissed.

All of us—adults and students alike—will need to be more than ordinarily attentive to each other. The adults will be here for our students and each other; the students will be here for one another. The greatest gifts we can give each other at a time like this are presence and prayer. In fact that is all we can give; there are no words that can make sense of this. We can and must simply be with one another, share the sadness, and allow God to be present in and through us. Above all, we pray that God hold his dear son Dominick close to Himself, and that God will reach through the pain of this moment to grant strength and hope to Dominick’s family and friends.

Today at 12:30 pm, the Mass in the Rupert Mayer Chapel will be celebrated for Dominick’s eternal rest. Anyone is welcome who would like to come and pray for Dominick, and for the consolation of his parents, his brother Donovan and his sister Aly. He was a wonderful son, brother, and friend and a great gift to all who knew him. May he rest in peace.

One final note: Dominick was a football player, and his father is on the football coaching staff. The family has told us quite forcefully that they want tonight’s football game to be played. They feel that will be best for our students, and we agree.



Over the course of the last few days our faculty, staff and counselors have been active in responding to the context in each building. Along with our school therapist, the pastoral departments and the counseling departments in both Divisions have worked hand-in-hand with the faculty and staff to speak with students who are significantly challenged by Dominick's passing. They have additionally responded to parent concerns about individual students, holding conversations as necessary and keeping administrations in both buildings informed.
Included here are resources to give you some tools for conversations with your students at home. Please take a look at them. We believe these can be very helpful and can provide a good sense of questions and conversations to have at home.
Please continue to pray for the repose of the soul of Dominick Doyle, pray for the Doyle family and for the entire community of Regis Jesuit.

Encourage one another.
Live in harmony and peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
—2 Corinthians 13: 11-12
Dear Parents and Guardians,
There can be no greater sorrow for a parent than to lose a 
child—and, thank God, not many of you have had to
 endure that experience. Few of us can even imagine 
what it is like to suffer the loss of a child.
In ways large and small, the death of junior 
Dominick Doyle has touched the entire community. 
Some have been shaken to the core; others will 
experience it less intensely—but all of us are 
affected by this death.
For some of our students, this is the first experience 
of the death of someone close to them. For others, 
it is the first experience of the death of someone 
their own age. In addition to the questions that 
always confront us at such a time, the sudden 
death of a young person unleashes a special 
torrent of questions among his or her peers. 
(Why didn’t I take the keys? Why didn’t I tell someone?
 Why didn’t I reach out? Is there some sign I missed?) 
And when the death is a suicide, the anger, guilt, 
and confusion can be overwhelming. Those close 
to the person have a special kind of loss to deal with.
 But all sorts of feelings can also be unleashed in 
young people not necessarily close to the person 
who died, but who may already be struggling 
with issues of depression, loneliness, breakups, 
a relative’s death, etc.
Last Friday, when news of Dominick’s death 
became known, the entire community of Regis Jesuit 
came together in sorrow, support and prayer. 
Some students simply sat side by side in the 
hallway—silent at first, then crying, quietly talking, 
praying and hugging. Some went to class, where 
perhaps they were able to share their questions 
and confusion. Some spoke to counselors, teachers or 
coaches. The football team gathered in the field house 
where they could remember their teammate, pray and 
begin to wrestle with the impact of this sudden death. 
Some parents came to school simply to be near their 
children. Others came to pick them up, feeling that home 
was the best place to be at that moment. 
During mid-morning, rosaries were said in 
both divisions. Shortly after noon 
a memorial Mass was held in the Boys gymnasium. 
Nearly a thousand students sat side-by-side on the 
floor, with many parents and teachers on chairs 
nearby. The holy silence of that room expressed 
powerfully the reality of grief and love that no words 
could express.
I write today to simply voice my awe and gratitude 
to this community, and to affirm that all of us will 
need to offer even more generously than usual the
 precious gifts of presence and attention to our 
children in the weeks and months ahead. During 
school hours teachers, counselors, coaches and 
school administrators can offer to parents those 
extra sets of eyes and ears that are often able to 
spot early signs of trouble. But they can never 
replace the time and attention to their children that
 parents can give. Honest conversation when the 
time is right; extra hugs; family meals—such simple 
gifts, but so important at a time like this.
Not many parents feel prepared to deal with 
situations like this. Excuse the cliché, but it really 
does take a village. You can be a great source 
of support to one another. You can help each 
other immensely by paying attention to each 
other’s children. Ask questions. As you know, 
some kids find it easier to talk to their friends’ 
parents than their own!

1 comment:

Jazmine said...

I'm so sorry for your lost. I also had a friend committ suicide when on his 20th birthday.