Father's Day Deliberations at the Pharmacy

June 23, 2015

On Father's Day, I spent the majority of my waking hours working in the pharmacy, because I know my patients need me to be there.

On Father’s Day, I spent the majority of my waking hours working in the pharmacy, because I know my patients need me to be there. A dad came in to pick up an antibiotic prescription for his daughter, and I was there to help. That is what I call instant job satisfaction.

At my pharmacy, all of the dads wish each other a Happy Father’s Day, giving each other a figurative pat on the back for a job well done. While that is nice, nothing compares to hearing those 3 words— “Happy Father’s Day”—from my son, Julian. They were the first words he spoke when he saw me on Sunday.

Wearing my tie featuring multiple images of Julian’s school picture and proudly displaying his pictures on the pharmacy counter, I went through my workday. Before I knew it, it was time to go home.

When I got home, I celebrated with my boy, my wife, and my in-laws. My dad passed away 10 years ago, but he would have been there, as well.

While I definitely enjoyed the day, I had a heavy place in my heart for Kennedy LeRoy’s dad. He will never hear his son say “Happy Father’s Day” again.

Kennedy, who had Asperger syndrome, took his own life on June 12, 2015, in his bedroom after school. He was only 2 years older than my son. He was being bullied, and I guess he believed some of the venom his “classmates” were spewing.

Kennedy’s dad has lived the exact scenario that is my greatest fear in life. In an instant, I would trade my life for that of my son who has high-functioning autism, the modern name for Asperger’s.

Julian is an only child, and I don’t want to know a second of my life without him. When the loss of a child happens to one of my patients, I cannot comprehend how they go on in life.

Kennedy left a note that read, “Maybe my death will make people realize that words can hurt as much as, if not more than, physical blows.” That sentence is heartbreaking. It came from such a beautiful mind, and nothing more will come from it again.

To the LeRoy family, you have my deepest sympathies. I cannot begin to fathom what you are going through, and it saddens me terribly to see your situation. I pray that somehow you come to peace with this.

Bullies must somehow come to understand that mean words can kill. What happened to Kennedy shouldn’t happen to anyone ever again. Unfortunately, it will, and that is simply awful.

Jay Sochoka, RPh, has a heavy heart.