I was on duty last night around 4 AM when the police called. "We have a frantic mother trying to reach her son at the residence. Can you look up his room number for us?"
"At the residence? No. But I can transfer you to the receptionist there." And I did so.
Soon after, I got the call from the residence receptionist. "The police are here. They're looking for a student."
After a short pause: "Self-harm."
We sent a guard over to the residence and while she and the police were looking for the student, the boy was elsewhere. He had made one phone call to say only, "I love you, mom." and now he was speeding his car through a low brick wall to plunge over the lip of the escarpment.
Today his injuries were downgraded from life-threatening to non-life-threatening.
What I loved about the patrol guard position was my ability to interact with people who were in bad circumstances and to make a positive difference in their lives; from the little things like helping them get to their exam on time to the bigger things, like first-aid situations; or like the time I helped two former lovers gain perspective and settle peaceably after a strained break-up led to stalking charges. I accepted the promotion to sergeant in order to get more free time to write on the job - because writing is my best way to potentially help people. Right?
So I was enjoying my free time in the control room while other guards were present at the pub earlier that night, as a tiff broke out between friends. These other guards intervened, learned the nature of the quarrel, and sent them on their way to resolve it on their own.
A friend had admitted the feelings in his heart, you see, and the other friend, to which the feelings were directed, did not respond in kind, but with hostility instead. It might surprise you: which of these two friends got the notion to end his life. All while I was not present; no longer available to seek to make a difference through personal connection.
Now one boy is a mess from the waist down and the state of his mind remains to be seen.
The other, mentally, is a wreck. He blames himself. And he's terrified that his dear friend will not wish to see him upon emergence from the Intensive Care Unit; perhaps ever again.
Love is not something to fear. However did we start thinking it can be? That is just one simple piece of advice out of a great many that I would offer were I not handcuffed by policy from interfering. My heart aches for them both and for the mother. I'm deeply compelled to act. So many perspectives I could share. I know how instincts cage the mind in these circumstances, enslaving it to one's fears, stripping one's field of vision.
He lived. He lived!
And now there is opportunity - for many kinds of healing and many kinds of learning and for new appreciation of the miracle of life and the miracle of love. Because critical life events breed new perspectives, new intelligence, new capacities. Sometimes people just need a gentle nudge or two from someone who cares and who understands some things.
And I don't think I give a damn about policy.