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“In The Bones”

I had the opportunity to see Cody Daigle-Orian’s play In The Bones, at The Shelterbelt Theatre last week. The play was a mix of drama with a touch of humor, all while opening the audiences’ eyes to the reality of suicide.

In The Bones is a story about a young soldier named Luke. Not long after Luke’s return home from his second tour in Afghanistan, he kills himself. Leaving behind few clues of what brought him to end his own life; we watch his loved ones come to grips with his sudden death.

It was gut-wrenching to watch as his grief stricken mother, Dee, processed through feelings of anger, guilt, and regret. She felt that she never had the chance to truly know Luke. She felt cheated. It was almost painful to watch how Dee would project her grief and anger towards her daughter, Chloe.
We learn early in the beginning of the play that Luke is gay, and had hid his same-sex relationship from his mom for nearly four years. His partner, Ben, was never accepted by Dee, which creates even more turmoil in the wake of the tragedy.

Before Luke’s death he had recorded conversations and moments with the people he loved most. Often to the point of irritation to his family, he would repeatedly ask them to say something nice about him. At one point he even asked his mom to say something good about him; Dee looked annoyed and couldn’t come up with anything to say. This broke my heart for both Luke and Dee. It was clear she loved her son so much, but she simply didn’t know how to express her feelings. I can’t image the regret of words that remained unspoken.

Luke would watch these iPhone videos when he was alone in his bunker while overseas. These videos gave the audience a small glimpse into his world. When the camera was finally turned on Luke, and Ben asked him to say something, Luke simply replied, “I tried really hard.”

To me this was his way of saying that he simply couldn’t go on “fighting” anymore. From his struggle with PTSD, reliving the things he saw and did in battle, to the stress and pain he felt from not being accepted as a homosexual, it was too much for him. Like the 105 Americans that die by suicide every day, Luke made a choice that would forever affect the lives of those who loved him.

Showings of In The Bones will run Thursday through Sunday until September 13th at the Shelterbelt Theater.

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About Jill Sauser, The Kim Foundation Project Coordinator

Jill graduated with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Speech Communication from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2009. During her time at UNO, she completed a two year PR practicum program where she worked with numerous nonprofit clients including the MS Society, The Archdiocese of Omaha, The Omaha Food Bank, and YWCA. Since becoming Project Coordinator at The Kim Foundation in April 2014, she has become an active member of the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition, The Omaha Metro Hoarding Taskforce, the Early Childhood Mental Health Coalition, the Metro Area LOSS Team, and is helping lead a community-wide health improvement initiative with the Douglas County Health Department called, “Just Reach Out,” which is focused on improving the people’s view on mental and behavioral health treatment.