Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Jocelyn Desmond January 27, 1995 - March 15, 2012

Jocelyn on the right and her friend Nicole

Jocelyn Albright Desmond, of Davidson, took her own life last week and the world for the most part didn't pause to notice.

Life of course goes on, as death is a daily occurrence and most of us wouldn't know that this beautiful girl committed suicide unless we happened to notice her photo center in a sea of much older people in Sunday's Charlotte Observer.

I noticed.

Main stream media, doesn't run stories about people who kill themselves unless they tie up traffic, jump from a bridge or murder a bunch of other people first. There is a theory that taking about it will cause other teens to do the same.

So it is left to those friends and family to know this, it is a silent burden, one that no one whats to talk about. These are the victims of Jocelyn's suicide.

Outside of her closest friends and family her death is only spoken of in hushed tones and most act as if God simply took her. Words like "she's an angel now" and "a better place" and the time worn phrase "My thoughts and prayers are with you" are tossed about like confetti. Well meaning people rarely know what to say when someone who has lived a long life passes away, but when it a child commits suicide, no words really suffice.

The Charlotte Observer obituary was short and sweet and included a hint of what happened, is here.

Jocelyn was a junior at W. A. Hough High School in Cornelius, North Carolina more importantly she was just 17.

Jocelyn's twitter account has been shut down, deleted as if it never existed, but some of her last tweets are still out there.

@Joc_Dez: i've made my mistakes and i've lost some of the people i love. but it all happens to make us stronger.

An indication she was OK, but Jocelyn wasn't ok. The tweets that followed are troubling:

"@Joc_Dez: So confused right now its not even funny. Being blamed for something i dont even know about."


"@Joc_Dez: I wonder if people would even care enough to notice."

and a few hours later her last tweet:

"@Joc_Dez: Close Going off the deep end and no ones trying to save me.”

Jocelyn by many reports was being bullied by someone or perhaps a group of people, teenagers are mean like that, there is a tendency to "pile on", and in the fog that is so often our youth she determined she didn't want to live any longer, that her life was just not worth living.

Of course we know she was wrong.

A week ago on Wednesday March 14, word spread quickly through W.A. Hough high School, that something had happened to Jocelyn and she was in the hospital. By mid afternoon there were a dozen tweets many like this one:

"I love you so much. My family is praying for you. Get better soon!"

and many other posted as replies to her twitter handle.

But by the afternoon of March 15 the news had spread Jocelyn had died with her family by her side. The obituary said "peacefully".

But we all know there is little peace in a hospital.

The twitter posts after her death was noted were predictable:

@Joc_Dez i wish i would of saw this earlier before we lost you!! )":

Jocelyn's family agreed to have her organs donated, and within hours Jocelyn's body had saved three lives. Many would go on to say that Jocelyn saved 3 lives as if that made her death worth something, it is not.

Her life was.

On Saturday there was a service at the Journey Church in Huntersville.

And the family requested that donations in lieu of flowers be made to Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center at (952-838-9000) or The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at

And that was that.

But there's more, it is now up to you to do something. Take some time to learn how to spot someone who is in trouble, you can start here.

And there is help for victims of suicide here.

For those who knew Jocelyn and those who didn't check out Tracy's Grace Space and her post about Jocelyn here.

14 comments: said...

Awesome post Cedar! Thank you for taking the time to remind us how serious bullying, mental illness and suicide prevention is. I hope her death will open many eyes!

Anonymous said...

Hope they find the people who bullied her and make an example of them. I was bullied in grammar school, many decades ago, and it wasn't a grand experience but back then you were calleda wimp if you complained but life today is more complex. It is sad that someone so young felt there was nothing left in life for her.

Anonymous said...

It is sad that this young woman thought that ending her life was the answer, and her parents saw fit to shut down her twitter account.

Anonymous said...

So young to go. So young to not know that her life did matter and so sad no one knew of her distress and so sorry no one reached out to her when she was making the comments on twitter to help her out. God rest her soul. God be with her family. Thanks for posting to make us all aware that we need to stay involved in our childrens lives "daily".......

Anonymous said...

Please don't bully!!! Its not worth it!! I hope they expose the kids who made her feel this way!!! It needs to stop!! Make an example of them CMS!!!! Charlotte NC schools should not allow this!!! Stand up for Jocelyn..... if you guys care!!! Protect the next kid!!! Life is precious!! Hough high should be ashamed!! The staff needs to take charge and parents need to be more involved!!! Her twitter account was screaming... Help me!! Don't turn your heads and not talk about this!!! Press charges against those who were involved with her bulling. Its illegal! Let's start a law called Jocelyn's act..

Anonymous said...

This is terribly sad. I can't imagine the pain her family must be feeling.

I remember many years ago when my son was in the 8th grade, there was this kid who had been held back a few times. I believe he was 16. My son had just turned 13.

This kid kept harassing my son, beat on our door with a bat while I was at work, slapped him on the bus etc.

Anyway, I could not get the schools attention on it and I knew this kid had a rough life and previous legal troubles such as carrying a knife to school and damaging or breaking into cars, so finally I hired the biggest armed security officer I could find and took him to school along with my son monday morning.

Of course the school would not allow him to stay, and they probably thought I was crazy, but it got the schools attention and my son had not one ounce of trouble from the kid after that. He was actually pretty respectful.

Anonymous said...

I read that she had "passed peacefully" on the internet, but that's not what I heard from friends who knew her. This world makes me sad. Thanks for at least saying that something wasn't right with what happened. Although I didn't know here, she sounds like a wonderful person, and I'm sorry that she didn't feel that way.

Anonymous said...

Please do not claim to know the situation if you do not. You don't know how involved her parents were or how they tried getting her help. And there is a God who gives His children and believers a peace that is indescribable, you cannot say that it wasn't peaceful unless you were there.

Anonymous said...

I never met Jocelyn. But I was very sad at her death. We prayed for her at our evening Bible study and then for her family in church on Sunday.
I am familiar with mental illness. My husband is mentally ill. It is one of the saddest, misunderstood illnesses in America.
I feel for her family, especially her parents. Nothing will ever erase those memories.

Anonymous said...

I understand they can close her Twitter account, but how can they remove all the related tweets from a twitter search? And now what about Katie Wingate? (Kaitlyn Nicole Wingate) Was her death a suicide? I respect the family's desire for privacy but is absolute silence the correct response to teen suicide?

Cedar Posts said...

The passing of Kaitlyn "Katie" Nicole Wingate is detailed: here

I have no information as to how she died.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. As a resident near by and having a child at a middle school near by this tragedy hits close to home. This blog found me on Facebook and I am sharing it with as many people as I can. There is no shame or fear in talking about and striving to prevent suicide and bullying.

Anonymous said...

Funny that you write about people being bullied but you have bullied people yourself in this blog. You and all of your other anonymous friends. Hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

I started to post and share a personal story only to look up and read the ugly comment an anon left. People are cruel and just plan ugly. Those people have no interest in changing because their arrogance makes them believe they are right or justified in treating people the way they do. The people who would be touched by this piece which is very well written are those who care already or too much.