Today my 14 year old daughter came home from school in tears. She sobbed on my shoulder for a while, refusing to speak. She then went for a shower, before coming back to me to talk.
A boy in her ceramics class, who had recently been friendly towards her, had asked her to clarify their friendship. He asked if they were “friends” and did she “trust him?”
Her reply was that she didn’t know him well enough, so “not yet, no”.
The boy then went on quite a rant, during which he called her a bitch, a slut, and a whore. He then added that she “should go and kill yourself”.
Why does he think that this is acceptable behaviour? Why did his reaction, to what I can only assume he perceived to be a slight against him, need to include such vile, disgusting language? And why, please why, was her response worthy of death?
I am present in today’s world. I know that teenagers and young adults use the phrase “I’m gonna kill myself”, or “go kill yourself” in a light-hearted manner. It’s supposed to be humorous.
Why is joking about suicide funny?
I guess the answer is that those individuals who use the term in humour, don’t know anyone who has taken their life, thinking that it was the only solution to their problems.
They have not been touched by the hurt, the awful truth, they were not enough to keep someone from feeling like they couldn’t face another single day on this Earth.
They are not a parent to a 14 year old girl who, at age 13, tried to overdose herself on household medications, because she felt she could no longer cope in a world where she felt so completely alone, misunderstood, and hated by her peers for no other reason than because she was alive and breathing.
They don’t have to forever wonder why someone so precious to them would ever consider suicide; leaving them to face the cold world without their beautiful child.
They do not feel the guilt.
They do not know the finality of death, or the dreadful pain of those who are left behind.
Nor do they know of the daily worry that plagues a parent of a teenager who has attempted an overdose; the ever-present shadow of what might have been. And the constant niggle at the back of their mind: Is she okay today? Does she feel loved?