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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A letter to my daughter (and yours)

Dear Annie,

Today I learned of the death of a young girl from Indianapolis. She was 16 years old -- just a year older than you. Like you, she was into theater. Her friends described her bright smile, the way she brought life to a room just by walking into it. That reminds me of you. By all accounts, she was well loved.

Yet, yesterday this bright, sparkling girl took her own life.

I didn't know her, but her news of her passing took my breath away. It hit too close to home for this mom of a theater-loving, smiling, laughing, well-loved teenage daughter.

And so tonight, I'm sitting here writing this letter to you -- and to your friends and to any other teenager who happens across this post. What I want to say is this:

Have someone.

Have someone, an adult, in your life that you can talk to. Of course you can talk to me or Dad. But I was a teenager once. I know that sometimes your parents are the last people you want to talk to. And that's ok. We don't have to know everything. We might want to, but we don't have to.

But have someone who you trust to tell those things to. Have someone who you can confide in; who will keep your confidence and who will also know how to take care of your heart; who will know when to just listen, when to step in and do something more.

And to your friends who might be reading this, if you need someone to be that person in your life, I am here.

I feel like I should go on here to say how much you are loved, how much joy and pride you bring to my life. Those things are true and I hope you already know that.

But I think I just really want to say have someone, because no one could replace you in my life.



In honor of Maggie
and in support of To Write Love on Her Arms


Michele said...

What an awesome post! It brought tears to my eyes.

Ellen aka Ellie said...

In the last two years, my school district has been rocked by three suicides. Three in a city of only 28,000 people.

I knew none of the children, but I grieved nonetheless.

Taking a life, your own valuable potential filled life, is never the answer.

I agree...someone will listen.

Sorry for your heartache, and I will pray for that girl's family.

Unknown said...

After 18 years of teaching high school English, it still is a total heart-breaking, gut-wrenching moment when you hear that a teenager thought he/she had no other choice or option. Your letter is so important for your daughter and her friends and all our of children to hear, and it cannot be said enough. Hugs!

Momza said...

Amy, you are so right. And your timing couldn't have been more perfect in my world--just last night, we heard that a 15 yr old friend of my daughter's took her own life too.
The first things I asked was "did she have any friends?" and "What was going on in her family?"
Suicide is a permanent answer to a temporary problem. It's just so so sad.

Jolie Lindley said...

This is a great post. It is heartbreaking any time I lose a student or former student. One of the only reasons I still teach and put up with the crap thrown at us by the state department of education is because I know that in my school, I am that "someone" for several students each year. I have kids talk to me about horrible things they are enduring, and I always feel honored that they trust me as a sounding board. Most of the time, they just want someone to listen. Thanks again for a very important blog post!

Beth Zimmerman said...

Go ahead ... Make me cry!

Rachel said...

Thank you for writing this. I hope your daughter pulls it out whenever she needs to remember that a bad day doesn't mean a bad life. I'm sure there are others who need that same message - in printed word - right in front of their eyes.

I want to keep this and give it to my kiddo for that day when I'm not cool anymore and I can't make it all better with a box of Legos.

Thank you for writing this.