Teenage Suicide – Don’t Do It

-Heathers (1989)


Sharon Ryan, adjunct professor of management sciences at Concordia University College of Alberta, and freelance columnist (Workplace Ethics on Wednesdays) with the Edmonton Journal is releasing her first book on young adult suicide.

Live Your Life: How to Abandon Your Miserable Existence Without Killing Yourself and Others Along the Way contains twelve true stories as told by the young adults who lived through difficult experiences and how they overcame major setbacks to carry on with their lives. Following each story, Sharon reflects on the wisdom of the young adults by dovetailing their message with passages from the Bible. The intent is to show other young adults that they can find their way out of misery by using scripture.

The stories come from Edmontonians and students Sharon has met over the past 10 years. Three stories come from the Aboriginal community. The topics include date rape, teenage pregnancy, child abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, imprisonment, serious illnesses, general boredom with life, depression, and the trial of having someone close to you commit suicide.

Aaron Paquette, highly acclaimed Edmonton artist, has graciously allowed Sharon to reprint four of his prints in the book. The prints have a healing effect and are intended to offer psychological relief between chapters. As well, a short biography of Aaron’sā€™ life is included in the book.

Sharon and Aaron will be present at Concordia University College of Alberta, Tegler Centre, on Wednesday April 9th from noon ā€“ 1:00 p.m. for a book signing and sale. The book costs $15 including GST.

For more information, please contact Sharon Ryan at sharonryan2@gmail.com.


My Thoughts:

The publication comes from a decidedly Christian perspective and I considered this before allowing my images to be used. There are two perspectives of Christianity in the Native Community: one with very negative connotations due to a history of abuse and attempted cultural genocide, and one that embraces the theology and spirituality of the beliefs, choosing to overlook the messenger for the message.

I decided to remain neutral on the subject as I feel that anything that encourages youth to take a larger look at life and decide it’s worth living can only be a positive thing. I lost someone I loved to suicide when we were both in our teens and I’ve seen and felt first hand how destructive it can be. I’ve experienced the waste it is and the waste it leaves behind.

The suicide rates in First Nations communities are disturbingly higher than in the rest of Canadian society and if this book can help even a little, then I’m proud to stand behind it.

Some Traditionalists will disapprove but as someone who faced his own difficult choices as a young man, help from all sources was good to have.

So, if you have the lunch hour free, I’ll be glad to see you there. Also, if you can’t make it but still want the book signed – assuming everyone is obviously going to want ten copies šŸ™‚ – just give me a shout and we’ll work something out.

Mixed Media
on Paper

I wanted to paint something we associate with sorrow and find the beauty in it. Death is not the end of us. What a dreary life it would be if we had no hope for anything but what our senses could provide and our science could prove. How long did it take to believe the world was round, or that the universe was without end, but went on forever? There is more to life than what we see, or even what we feel. It’s the gaps, the silences between our thoughts, our breaths, our heartbeats where there are no words…that’s where we know that life is a dance played out beyond our comprehension, but of which we are a wonderful, lyrical part.