Brother’s death had warning signs


by KeriGlenn Waterhouse

Joshua was 13 years old, a 7th grader who loved football, wrestling, drawing, singing, outdoors, 4-H, everything else a little boy loves and was on the honor roll. He had the biggest heart and a contagious smile that could light up a room. A few days after he died we found out the cause of his death: The Choking Game.

This is something that none of our family knew Joshua was doing, but when we were told about it and what it entails, we found that the warning signs were all over. The warning signs include things like headaches, itchy eyes, off sleep patterns, marks on his bunk bed, robe ties in his room and the fact that he was a 13-year-old adventurous boy.

Since this happened I have been so invested in The Choking Game. It isn’t something that people really admit to or talk about, but it is going on everywhere, probably even here on campus.

When someone participates in this, they are cutting the oxygen supply from their brain, for a short term high, which as a result kills brain cells and can be fatal.

I didn’t need research to tell me it could be fatal. I experienced it first-hand.

Nov. 21 2011: My sister’s birthday and the day that forever changed my life. My family had a small birthday party planned at my grandparents. I was coaching my cheerleaders, so I didn’t get done until about 9:15 p.m..

I hurried to my grandparents to have cake and ice cream with them, but by the time I got there, they were getting ready to leave. I said hi and bye to all my siblings, then headed back to campus.

I got in the parking lot and my mom called me screaming so loud that I couldn’t understand anything she was saying.

I got her to talk slower and she said the most heart breaking words I have ever heard; “Joshua is dead!”

I dropped my phone and burst into tears, I couldn’t breathe, and I instantly turned back around and sped home.

By the time I got close to my house, I could see a light show from all the cop cars that were surrounding my parent’s home. The look on my dad’s face made me know this was real. My mom was crying, talking like she was talking to herself, but out loud.

I tried talking to my mom, but all she could say was, “They told me to prepare for the worst, but I know he’s already gone.”

The drive to the hospital was the longest drive of my life. Once they let me in his room, I held his hand, kissed his cheek, tried closing his eyes and talking to him.

I knew he was gone, but my mind wouldn’t let me accept it.

We were fielding questions, going through all of his things, and trying to find peace of knowing what really happened and started the funeral planning process.

I took on the “big sister” role, and planned his visitation and funeral pretty much on my own.

I did it because I knew my parents just couldn’t handle it.

This isn’t a game, and if people are doing it here, I hope that this is a wake-up call to them to stop.

The affects of this not only hurts yourself, but also everyone who loves and cares about you.

KeriGlenn Waterhouse is a senior multimedia journalism major and coaching minor.