Sunday, November 30, 2014

My Open Letter To The CATA Cougars And The Family Of Jake O'Neill

Dear CATA Cougars,

I would like to take a few moments of your time this evening and tell you what is on my heart. I didn't know Jake, but for the past few days I have seen pictures, statuses, and tweets that make me wish that I did as each of them gave a glimpse of what a kind and caring person he truly was. Tomorrow the halls of CATA will be hushed, and it is the worst feeling in the world to come to school knowing one less of your classmates isn't there. The CATA class of 2013 knows this all too well, I don't think it truly hit me until we walked across that graduation stage and Adam Chambers did not walk across it with us. 

My heart aches with the feeling that I felt that morning, when we all slowly learned of what happened to Adam. Just know I am praying for each and every one of you, his classmates, his family, and his girlfriend. We all don't want to see those that are young leave us too early, yet who are we to doubt God's plan? I know that in this mourning lies a greater purpose only God would know. One think that I always loved about CATA was the amount of respect most of us had for one another, as I saw the days after the passing of Adam and our Senior class. So I ask of each and every one of you that are in the current Senior class, get as close to one another as you can and support one another as much as possible. You all came in as freshman from other schools, but now you are united and you are Cougars and that is what makes you family.

Although Jake is no longer here on earth, he lives in the heart, mind, and memories of you his friends and family, I have no doubt in my mind that he loved each and every one of you very much. We must not let this be in vain, however. Things need to change, and all of you need to lead the charge to make these changes happen. Please don't be afraid to talk to anyone about any problems or feelings that you may be experiencing, I know that after this there will be no shortage of people that will be willing to listen. Feel free to click here if you or someone you know are struggling with suicide. Jake's memory can help spread awareness for mental illness for people all across this great state, and nation. I have seen over the past few days where i was mentioned that Jake would want all of you to be strong, and with that we must also rise from these ashes and change what needs to be changed, so that this is prevented from happening again.

Rest in peace Jake O'Neill, you will be sadly missed by many, a short life that had an impact on so many others. I will be praying for your family, friends, and your Cougar family. You are gone but you most certainly won't be forgotten.

Sincerely,

Dustin Kiggins CATA Class of '13
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