This past Tuesday -- Valentines Day -- a twelve-year-old girl who went to my grandson's school committed suicide.
This was not a result of bullying, or of boyfriend drama, or of gender confusion, or of a difficult homelife. None of the reasons we hear about on the news. There is no one to point the finger of blame at.
It just happened.
From what I have been able to understand the girl just very sad. She did not tell her parents or any adult. Instead, she texted a friend and told her that she felt very sad. The friend texted some other friends and they all texted the girl trying to cheer her up. They told her they loved her. They told her what a wonderful person she was. They tried everything they could think of.
Except tell an adult.
Now the girl's friends have to live with the guilt that comes from not having been able to something. Remember we're talking about twelve-year-old girls here. They tried. It was not their fault. They did the best they could. They just never considered telling an adult to be an option.
The girl's parents were not home at the time; her younger sister discovered the body. I can't imagine the hell the family is going through. The parents shouldn't blame themselves, even though I know they will. Kids have a natural talent for hiding their feelings and I suspect that this was the case here -- her friends and her teachers had no idea of the pain the girl was going through; her parents probably didn't either.
The girl will never taste another ice cream cone, never go on another amusement ride, never go on a date, never get wrapped up in the latest fad, never learn how to drive, never giggle or laugh again, and never never never do those simple things that make life so wonderful. Death is the one thing you cannot fix.
When you are a kid, you do not comprehend what death means. The human brain is not fully developed until around age twenty-two. That's one of the reasons kids do stupid and dangerous things. This week a kid did a stupid and dangerous thing and there are no take-backs. The day after she died, one boy went into a class they had shared and thought, her desk is empty; the following day, her desk was still empty; and empty again on Friday; he is just now beginning to realize that death is real.
My daughter spent eleven years as a paramedic and running an emergency ambulance, so she had already drummed a few mantras into her kids' heads: There is nothing so bad that it can't be fixed. If something is bothering you, tell an adult. If you find that something serious is bothering a friend, tell an adult.
A girl did a stupid thing this week and now she is dead. If she had given herself just an extra five or ten minutes to think, this might not have happened at all. I can't lay any blame on her. Depression kills. It's the depression that took a life, not the girl who was as much a victim as a victim could be.
The world is now less one person, a girl who could have grown to be a bright and witty woman, someone who may have made a large difference in the lives of others. We are less one person who was loved and will always be loved and now, tragically, is no longer able to love. It's a damned shame.
I didn't know the girl or her family. Neither did my wife or my daughter. Yet we all weep. The entire community weeps for a senseless death and a lost future.
There is nothing so bad that it can't be fixed.
Tell an adult.