*** Please know that this post discusses the very sensitive issue of suicide and reader discretion is strongly advised***
I once knew a girl who was so lonely, lost, confused and unexplainably sad.
She was only sixteen and yet felt like she bore the weight of eighty or more years of living on her shoulders.
She didn't really want to say goodbye.... she just couldn't bear to carry the burden of her confusing pain anymore and although she was desperate for help from somebody, anybody... she just didn't know how to ask for it or where to even begin.
It all just seemed... too hard.
One day, she found herself so incredibly overwhelmed by it all and she just could not see the stars for the clouds and so she wrote some goodbyes to the people she loved, took some pills she found in her parent's bedside drawer and got into bed to wait for it to all . just . stop.
That girl is gone, I don't know her any more.
I don't not know her because she was successful in her attempt to end her life... no thankfully that wasn't how this particular situation played out.
I don't know her because she isn't that scared lost girl anymore. She is all grown up and happily married with three beautiful boys and surrounded by family and friends who love her and listen and care.
She is me, but I am no longer that girl.
In the past six or seven weeks, the world has said goodbye to 6 people within my immediate circle of friends and family.
Six people whose loss has had an unbearable impact on their families and those who knew and loved them.
One of those losses was but a mere 16 year old boy.
I didn't know all six of them personally, some were friends of my friends and friends of my family members and yet I am so deeply saddened by their deaths and to be honest I am really struggling to come to terms with the age old question of... Why?
Three of these people lost their lives following hard fought battles with various illnesses and disease.
That is so incredibly tragic.
Three lost their battles with themselves and took their own lives. All three of those were males, including a 16 year old boy who was a school friend of my niece.
That is beyond tragic.
It just doesn't make sense does it?
On one hand we have three people who were so desperate to live, to beat their disease and live their lives for as long as possible, and then, on the other, are three who clearly felt so lost inside for whatever reasons that they just couldn't hold on.
The thought of them shatters my heart into a million pieces.
When I look back at the 16 year old me crying in her room feeling so lonely and helpless, I want to hug her and tell her to just hold on.
I want to tell her that in the weeks and years to come, the things that seemed so huge and impossible to overcome back then, will be so insignificant that she may not even remember them.
I want to tell her to talk to her parents about how she is feeling, to talk to a friend, a stranger on the end of a phone line... anyone, just talk.
I want to tell her that it is ok to cry, that it's ok to make mistakes, and that you don't always need to be strong and brave.
I want her to know that sometimes just by talking, you can allow someone else to be strong and brave for you when you can't find the strength for yourself.
I want everyone who feels that sense of hopelessness to know this and to hear my words and feel my warm hug.
As a mother of three boys, my greatest fear is that they will ever find themselves feeling overwhelmed by fear or pain or internal battles.
My greatest fear is losing them, so much so that I can barely even whisper those words.
I don't ever want to EVER have to say goodbye to my children.
No parent should.
I want them to know that they can always talk to me and to their dad, about anything and that no matter what it is they may be feeling or any mistakes they have made, it will be OK... they are OK, we are OK.
I want them to know that they DO NOT need to man up.
They DO NOT need to hide their pain or their tears.
They DO NOT need to hide their feelings and fears.
No one should ever feel like they should have to do that.
Please you guys, make an extra effort tonight to talk to your kids, like really talk to them about their feelings and their fears and all the stuff that you might feel uncomfortable talking about, but is soooo important.
Encourage them to look out for their friends, and to talk to each other, especially the males because for some reason whether it be society conditioning them or not, our boys and our men often feel like they can't talk about how they are feeling or show their emotions and pain to others.
Talk to your brothers, your boyfriends and your husbands and make sure they are doing ok and not trying to carry too much on their shoulders.
Do this for them and for yourself and do it for everyone who wishes that they still had the chance to have that talk.
We need to be here for each other, to look out for each other and to remind each other that life is so very very precious and fragile...
Please, don't ever let go.
If you are thinking about suicide or experiencing a personal crisis - help is available.
No one needs to face their problems alone.
Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Just call 131114. PLEASE, just call.