When I became a mother, I made a promise that there wouldn’t be anything on God’s green earth that I wouldn’t do to protect my baby.
I think a lot of us make that promise and our hearts earnestly mean it.
But when I saw the horrible story of a young boy who died by suicide after he was bullied, and the beautiful and compassionate way his family responded to his death, my heart paused.
You see, I always felt that if someone tried to hurt my child then I would hurt that person. Eye for an eye, after all. But as I watch this tragic story out of Utah unfold, I am changing the way I understand true kindness and compassion.
On February 10th, Samie Hardman of Tooele, Utah, posted the most gut-wrenching Facebook post imaginable.
Sammie, as she is called on her page, shared a series of images of her child who passed away. Above those stirring images, she wrote a breathtaking post sharing what happened to her boy, Drayke, who sadly took his own life at the tender age of twelve.
“This…. This is the result of bullying, my handsome boy was fighting a battle that not even I could save him. It is real, it is silent and there is nothing absolutely nothing as a parent you can do to take this deep hurt away.
There are no signs, only hurtful words of others that ultimately stole OUR Drayke from this cruel place. He was 12…. 12 years old. How does a 12 year old who was so knowingly fiercely loved by everyone think that life is so hard he needs to take himself from it,” she wrote.
Samie Hardman’s post has been shared 89K times, leaving indelible marks on the hearts of thousands of families who read it, and certainly those who know the Hardman family.
The details are not clear and out of respect for the family, they shouldn’t matter.
Still, the story is tragic all the same. Tweleve-year-old Drayke was being bullied by another child, and despite being surrounded by a loving family, he took his own life.
“Deep down there’s something broken that this child took from my son, and it has to come from somewhere, because like Samie said, children aren’t naturally angry,” Andrew Hardman, Drayke’s father, told ABC4News.
Sadly, Drayke’s story is not unique.
In November of 2021, a ten-year old Autistic girl in Utah also took her own life because of bullying about her autism and race. And we’ve seen many stories like this one about the tragedies that come from cyberbullying.
Samie describes her boy, Drayke Hardman, as having a heart of gold.
“To know Drayke was to love him, he had a fire that lit for people, his witty personality and those baby blue eyes won over the world,” she wrote.
Many people have reached out to the family to show love and support, including several Utah JAZZ players, including Drayke’s favorite basketball star, Donovan Mitchell. According to ABC4News, Mitchell sent the family a message that read, “your boy will be taking the court with us tonight.”
A family friend, Nate Eye, has started a Go Fund Me to help the family with funeral costs. The incredible outpouring of love from friends, neighbors, and strangers has amounted to more than $160K and still growing.
The Hardman family is hyper-focused on raising awareness around what causes bullying and how to end it so that no other family has to encounter the same tragedy.
“My heart is shattered, I don’t know how to fix it, or if I ever will, but I will spend every minute teaching kindness in the memory of my favorite dude.
His purpose here was to teach kindness, to show love that and he absolutely did, he took anyone in as a friend so that they had one. Once you were In Drayke’s tribe you were there forever,” Hardman wrote.