Sunday, October 16, 2016
What is Too Young to Talk About Suicide
We all want our kids with us forever and ever. I would do anything to have Heather back with us, but we can't have that. Instead, you pick up the papers or go on the internet and see stories of children, so young, taking their own lives. I have heard of young children, 9 years old, taking their lives. Each time I hear of another loss of life by suicide, another piece of my heart rips open.
We have to take a stand. We have to let everyone know, adults and children, that depression and mental illness are real and that these diseases can take over a person's soul until they feel so lost and desperate. We need to let them know that there is nothing that can't be solved. Our pasts can't be changed, but our futures can be. If we don't like our present, we can change it! One step at a time, we can all work thru everything.
One year ago today, life was normal for me. I was a Mom. I had 3 beautiful daughters, all with hearts of gold. My oldest, Carol, was starting her life in Florida as a nurse. Amy, my middle daughter, was a single Mom with my handsome grandson, Carter. She worked hard everyday in a machine shop and was always there for anyone that needed a helping hand. Heather was my baby. She was 22, going to school to go for her EMT while working in a group home for developmentally disabled adults. She was always there to help anyone that needed it. All my girls are the best.
One year ago plus 10 days, life became a living recurring nightmare that no parent ever wants to go through. For me, that was the day that three NJ State Troopers came to my door and told me that my beautiful baby girl was gone. They told me that she had been shot. They told me then that it was self-inflicted.
There aren't always signs that you can see. Sometimes, you really have to look hard. You really have to talk and ask the right questions. Trust me, after you lose your baby so suicide, you will look for the signs and you will see them. They are there. So ... let me ask you again. When is it too early to talk to your child about suicide and depression.
The numbers are all there. 1 in 4 suffer from the pain of depression and mental illness. As I hear stories from other parents and families, I fear those numbers are increasing too rapidly. Talk to your kids while they are still young. Let them know they are loved. Show them by asking hard questions and really listening. Ask if there is anything they are "dealing" with and make sure they know that you are going to be there for them - 100% - no matter what.
Don't look at your kids and think that just because they look and act like their worlds are perfect, that their world is ok. Most of the stories I have heard about other suicides all include so many similar lines. They were so happy all the time. They had a heart of gold. They were beautiful, inside and out. Because, on the inside, where you can't see, it may not be roses and sunshine. Inside, deep in their soul, they could be filled with turmoil and pain.
We have all heard stories of people that we know, people that decided for them, suicide was the only option. When all this happened, my daughters and I had a choice. We could say that Heather was gone too soon. We could have left it there. We decided that we needed Heather's story to continue ;) We needed to let people know that there are places to go and people to talk to. We needed to let people know that suicide was NOT an option.
Please, talk to your kids. Talk to your kids before you can't. Tell them that suicide is NEVER an option. There is always an alternative. Please, share Heather's story - talk about suicide. We can't end something that is hidden in the shadows. We can only find help for those that need it by shining a light on it.
I also want to say that I know I haven't been posting very often, but it's been really hard. I will get back to writing more in the future, just be patient with me as we all remember my sweet baby. We love you Heather! Always!