I've been thinking about a girl I knew in high school today. She was a year or two younger. I didn't know her well. I'll call her Sunshine, cause she was always smiling and happy. I got married when I was 17, so by a year after graduation, I was already an old married woman when I'd heard the news.
Sunshine had taken her own life. She had been arguing with her mom. Her mom went outside then heard a shot and ran back in to see her little Sunshine laying dead on the bed, a single shot point blank into her head.
I believe in God. I know Sunshine did too. I believe when we die, we stand before Him and according to the Bible, if we were His... if we responded to His invitation to be His child, He welcomes us home. I share that to say... I knew where she was. I was sad for her... very sad, and confused as to how someone her age could hurt that deeply... with her life just beginning, but I knew she was not dead in the cold ground. She was with Jesus.
However the person I could never get out of my head, was her mom. I was just 18 or 20 so it wasn't really natural to identify with the mom, but I did. I assumed the thoughts she was thinking, once she was able to regain any sanity... were 'Why didn't I just close my mouth? Why didn't I just give in this once? How did I fail her so miserably? Why didn't I keep that gun where she'd never find it? Why didn't I do more to make her feel loved?' etc. etc. ad nauseum until she wanted to take her own life. I'm sure that was one of the first lucid thoughts she had... was why couldn't she be the one laying on the bed and her daughter be alive and well.
I don't know why I'm thinking of this family. But 20 years later, my heart still goes out to them. I still hurt for them cause I know for them it probably still feels like yesterday. Was it really their conversation that pushed Sunshine over the edge or was Sunshine waiting for her mom to leave so she could go ahead with her plan to end her (assumed) miserable life?
How many ppl do we talk to everyday? As a self proclaimed recluse I don't talk to too many "real life" ppl most of the week, but... on a daily basis, through the Internet, I speak to dozens. I wonder how many times I'm aware the person who "liked" my silly post... has cancer. I wonder if the person who hurt my feelings, one too many times, and now I avoid... is being beaten or abused at home. I wonder if that flirty young guy I defriended... was also suicidal.
One thing I have learned in the past two years on the Internet is that everyone is hurting. And some to the point of doing anything they can to get away from the pain. I've been in that place, and it's a daily struggle to come back out. Sometimes the solitude feels safe, but this is a dark place. We're blind here and we need the encouragement and love of those who care to help us navigate through the night. I stopped reaching out to church friends. I got hurt so I hid. But you can get hurt anywhere, as long as ppl are still ppl.
I'm trying to come back out. I go to a women's group now and I'm trying to trust again, but it's gonna be a long road. It's time to feel all the hurts and stop stuffing them down. If you're hurting deeply as I have been, I really encourage you to pray. Even if you've never been a prayer. God might have been a far off light for me during this lonely time, but I could always see that light and it was the only thing that offered me hope... that there was a better tomorrow waiting.
I also encourage those of you who feel strong now. How many Sunshines cross your path and you never even know it? Speak kindly, to them, and about them. Give them something to hope for. If they're close, touch them. Stroke their hair and hold their hand while it's in your power to do so. Life is too short, not to focus on others.