He would walk to school, hood pulled over his head, shielding his hair from the rain. His feet would create ripples in the forming puddles, and he would think so hard about his life and the ripples that he could create. The fear that kept his mouth from saying something was the same fear that was killing him.

It isn't just stick and proverbial stones that break bones; words break hearts.

The taunts tore at his flesh like a swatch, ripping jagged strips of his soul from frame. His tears were like salt in the wounds. His tears felt like blood falling from dark clouds.

His family had no idea. He could not speak the words that could have saved his life. He continued that lonely walk on that wet, dank pavement each day, a death march, a saunter to his grave.

No one was there to tell him it would all soon be okay. There was not a soul that could patch the leak in his heart. It was slowly drowning him from the inside out.

Sticks and stones do hurt and break bones, but words tore his soul apart.

The day we learned that he had strung himself up on a rafter at the elementary school, was the day those who smashed his life in with words of hate and intolerance took a step back and felt the true impact of what they'd done.

The day he understood inside that death was his only freedom, he scribbled on a white piece of paper his last words to those who loved him most:

Dear Mom and dad,

I am taking my life at the elementary school playground because, well, it was the last place that I can remember being truly happy.

So much for just sticks and stones breaking bones….