Last week, I took home to Sarah a book I had heard Clare talking about at work. It's a young adult novel, titled "Th1rteen R3easons Why", about a young woman who commits suicide, but leaves thirteen cassette tapes listing her reasons to a friend. Sarah loved the book, read it in two days. And then, on Tuesday, another boy at MVHS committed suicide, the third in five months.
So, today's blog lists my reasons, thirteen in homage to the book NOT to commit suicide. This blog is for all the kids in my life, my own and those I borrow to fill my house with fun and surprises. Don't do it.
1) YOU'LL MISS YOUR OWN PARTY. I think sometimes kids have a strange notion of time and permanence. I believe most kids who do something impulsive want more than anything to hear the outpouring of love which happens at their funerals, and then somehow undo the suicide and return to a world which finally appreciates them. It doesn't work that way. You won't be there, and you won't come back.
2) LIFE GETS BETTER. It truly does, though whether it's because as adults, we have more freedom than you do to make our own mistakes and suffer the consequences, or because the raging hormones settle down enough to make the pains we suffer hurt less, I have no idea. But, life does get better. Just wait it out.
3) TIME HEALS ALL PAIN. Whatever seems so dire right now, won't be so bad next year, or even next week. Friends come into your lives, frienemies leave it. You will change teachers, and maybe even schools. A bad grade or a bad breakup can be all you think about for a few days, but it will get better.
4) YOU WILL NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU MISSED. You won't know who had a secret crush on you, who was going to ask you on a date or to meet his parents. You won't have the great teacher all the older kids are talking about and see why they do.
5) YOU WILL MISS OUT ON THE BEST PARTS OF YOUR LIFE: proposing to the one you love, or accepting that proposal, saying hello to the baby you've felt kick around inside for nine months, watching the SOLD sign planted in the yard of the first house you buy, taking care of your parents as they age, and feeling life come full circle.
6) NO ONE CAN EVER REPLACE YOU. Because you are special. There will never be another you, no one even close to being like you. Even your siblings are not copies of you. No one can tell jokes like you do, can draw like you do, can give hugs like you. No one.
7) NOT EVERYTHING IS YOUR FAULT. Bad things happen in the lives of kids, and it can be hard to make sense of things. But, for every bad event you've suffered, I bet I know an adult who has gone through the exact same thing. Maybe not the combination of tragedies, because your life is your own, but most adults have also suffered, learned from it, and grown into empathetic people who love others. Just because bad things have happened to you, that doesn't mean you deserve bad things. The pendulum will swing the other way and you will be happy again.
8) MOST PEOPLE THINK ABOUT IT AT SOME POINT. And they don't go through with it. If you have thought about it, don't be ashamed. Just find someone to talk to and tell how you are feeling. Like I wrote in #7, there is someone in your life who will know exactly how you feel.
9) "YOUR LIFE IS NOT YOUR OWN." I give this speech to everyone now. It's something I just learned myself a few years back, but it resonates although it was hard learned. You don't own your life. You belong to everyone who loves you, who would be heartbroken if anything happened to you.
10) ALL THE GOOD IN LIFE OUTWEIGHS THE BAD. Make a list of everything about this world that you love, from blooming flowers, to driving fast with your windows down, to your favorite foods, to getting a funny text in class, to your favorite band, and so on. You don't take that stuff with you.
11) IT COULD BE CLINICAL. If you are sad, and nothing makes you feel better, ever, then it might be time to ask a doctor why. Sometimes our brains let us down, stop producing certain chemicals we need to judge situations correctly, and let happy things make us happy. There is no shame in getting prescribed help if we need it, no more shame in that than in the shots I take every day to stay alive. Doctors are here to help.
12) SO DON'T DO IT. Don't let the last decision of your life be the worst one you ever made.
13) BECAUSE I LOVE YOU. If you are getting this blog on your page as a link, I think you are special. You may not need this intervention, but everyone needs to be told they are loved, especially my girls and their posse of friends. I always thought I would have a big family, and I did get one. You are part of that family. Don't do anything stupid.