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Morse code or megaphone - listen

Social media can be fun: finding long-lost loves, keeping close with far-away friends and family and even getting a glimpse into the details of co-workers' lives. But at some point, we have to listen, really listen to the tweets and posts and texts.

 No one listened to Texas high school senior Ashley Billasano. And so, she took her life.

No one listened to her reports of abuse; abuse she claimed went on for four years. No one called, asked, informed a teacher or trusted adult about one of her haunting final tweets that read: “I'd love to hear what you have to say but I won't be around.”

Our children communicate however they can; sometimes they are loud and in our faces, but other times they whisper, in barely audible tones, their desperation. Sometimes their cries are as quiet as a tweet.

Adults, friends, teachers…anyone who hears those cries has the moral obligation to act.

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About this blog

Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

Ask a question: Catherine welcomes questions about aging issues and grief. Email her at

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