Warning for discussion of depression and suicide.
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My daughter is learning a valuable lesson right now.
We found out last week that one of her friends committed suicide. This was a young girl, not sure of her exact age, but she was in the 8th grade class at school. I’m guessing she was either 13 or 14. While she wasn’t a super close friend, this was someone who had been in my daughter’s art class for the past few years and they had fun joking around together a lot. My daughter is also very sensitive, very empathetic, so this is hitting her very hard.
It’s tough to watch. This is one of those situations as a parent where you wish you could take away their pain and suffering, but there really isn’t anything you can do to help, except let them know that you love them. We went to the funeral this weekend and, while it was very sad, it was also very uplifting seeing these young people come together and support each other. Lots of hugs. Lots of tears. But that’s healthy. That’s the way it should be when you lose someone.
This is the first time my daughter has ever lost someone she was close to.
There were some family members that have passed, but she was still a baby and doesn’t remember anything about them. This will be the first one that she remembers losing. This will stick with her for at least most, if not all, of her life. She has spent the past week staring at her phone, looking at pictures and videos of her friend, smiling and looking happy. No one saw this coming.
My daughter has had her own issues with depression and anxiety, including suicidal thoughts. The school knows this and has worked with her as much as they can, although they can only do so much with the resources they have. She has been going to two different counselors for a few years now, which has helped quite a bit, but there are still underlying thoughts and emotions that she has a difficult time controlling. I think part of why I have been having a hard time with this (including being in tears for two straight days, even though I have never met this particular friend) is because I can’t help but imagine what it would be like if this were my kid. It’s terrifying.
What I am hoping is that, as tragic as this has been, that it has also shown my daughter how something like this affects everyone around them. She will understand why I get so worried and scared when she goes through a bad phase. Part of me hates that I am taking a tragedy that belongs to another person, another family, and making it about us, but I think that is human nature. It’s how we process things. And really, it’s all we can do. Whatever pain brought this young girl to do this, I hope that she is at peace now. All we can do is remember her and learn from her experience.