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Timothy Schenke

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Letter to the Editor,
The Coast Star
May 8, 2008

To all who are suffering from the tragic loss of Tim Schenke,

Although this may be impossible, I am trying to offer some insight into Timís difficulties. Because he was such a closed person with Andy and me, please know that my interpretations may be somewhat inaccurate. However, I do feel I know my son in ways that no one else did and I have feared this outcome for the past few months.

I first want to explain that Tim was not an "addict" physically. He came to rely too heavily on marijuana for self-medication purposes. I guess he was suffering so strongly that he became emotionally dependent. The use of other drugs became a larger issue after the death of Bobby Bannick, and even then, there was no "dependency". Tim did try to follow our house rules and accepted our punishments, sometimes without major complaints. I wish the last few months could have been happier and lighter; without so much time spent arguing, drug testing, going to different doctors, trying anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, Ö The problems were building for much longer than a few months Ė itís just that the last few months were so much more serious. I am so thankful that our family had such a wonderful, argument-free time in Hawaii during February. I wished we never had to come home.

I want to say to the kids: please do not turn to alcohol or drugs to deal with your problems/insecurities. There are so many people who want to help you. Andy and I personally offer to help you. To the parents: please do not accept that "it is only pot" and pot is not addictive. Yes, there are plenty of kids who drink and smoke on the weekends and maybe that is just "typical" teenage behavior. However, there are so many other kids who are not just "having a great time", they are in tremendous pain. Tim always felt that he did not have many friends, and that after being friends with someone for a while he perceived that he became annoying. He knew he was easily bored, overactive, and intense, but I guess he could not internally accept all of his positive attributes and how much he gave to others and was loved. To all parents, educators and law enforcement: please try not to "look the other way". Tim used to plead with me to leave him alone; to act like other parents who just didnít want to know. That was probably the theme of our most common argument. In some ways, I wish I was less demanding and just showed simple love, unconditionally. But, in other ways, I think he wanted/needed my harsh hand and that it contributed to the great person he was.

Lastly, I want to share a little background information for anyone reading this who did not know/know of Tim. He was a scholar, athlete, volunteer, and tutor, not only through school, but to so many friends informally. He was planning to attend Drexel University, College of Engineering and had received a significant merit scholarship. Unfortunately, throughout Timís life, his self-esteem did not match his capabilities and I believe that was part of the problem. There are, and will continue to be, so many unanswered questions.

My love to all,
Lisa Schenke
Spring Lake Heights

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