In memory of 14-year-old Shane Hrischuk

Oxford Middle School student Shane Hrischuk's favorite color was orange for his favorite football team, the Texas Longhorns.

And last week, his friends went to his grave site to place orange carnations in his memory. 

Shane, 14, lost his life to suicide on Wednesday, Jan. 25 from a gunshot wound to his head. And the past two weeks of writing about him for The Oakland Press and talking to his family and friends, even though I never met him, I saw a person so loved by those he knew and someone so missed by his entire community.

According to statistics, 63 teenagers die from suicide in the United States every day, and suicide is a common thought in 62 percent of U.S. adolescents. But Shane isn't just a statistic. He is a person — a teenager with blue eyes, a big smile and braces who played basketball, ran track this year and loved to play football in his neighbor's backyard.

On Thursday, I received a call from one of his best friends Paige Barrett. I talked to her for about half an hour, and she told me all about her last memories of Shane and their inside jokes. I think she just wanted someone to talk to. And listening to her, I got tears in my eyes —something I try not to do when I'm at work. But I couldn't help it. 

I wish I could have met him.

Here is some of what Paige shared with me about Shane in an email before calling me:

I was a very good and close friend to Shane! He wasn't just like a brother to me, he was my other half! My life isn't the same without him, and there isn't a minute that I haven't spent crying because I just can't keep myself together!!! Shane was soo loved and sixth hour, just before the day he had shot himself, we were talking in class because he sat next to me and I knew something wasn't right! For the past few days he had been sitting silent with his head down, not smiling, not talking. And, with as close to him as I was, I knew something wasn't right! Everyday when I walked into class, I looked forward to seeing his face, and I got so excited when I saw his beautiful smile!!! No matter my mood, he ALWAYS did anything to make me happy again! He was loving, caring, generous, happy and always put others before himself! He was my best friend and I've never been as close to anyone as I was to Shane! Wednesday the 24th he had gotten to sixth hour late. He sat down and dropped his head in silence! I looked at him and said, "What's wrong Shane, something isn't right, this isn't you, something is wrong, what is it?!?" I knew he wasn't acting like himself because everyday he walked into class with a smile on his face, laughing and usually sharing a joke! I can't stop hearing is laugh and remembering his face when he looked over and turned to me when he was smiling during 6th hour because we had just made a new inside joke, this was the day before he committed suicide!

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