Today in Canada approximately 11 people will end their lives by suicide and approximately 210 others will attempt it.
Five years ago my daughter was one of those people, and five years later the pain is just as great as it ever was. If regrets and grief were dirt, I could shovel a mountain and still not find the answers I need to explain this. Maybe losing someone to suicide is supposed to be this way.
I didn’t call Rehtaeh on the day she died. I used to be so proud of the relationship we had and how often we spoke to each other. But on the day she died, I thought about calling but put it off. I put it off and I’ll never know what could have been. I could have called and helped her get to a better place, calm her down, get her thoughts back on track. Let her know how much she means to me. How much life she has yet to live.
But I didn’t.
I had a lazy day, or a frustrating day, or life just got in the way. Whatever it was, it was meaningless. Now it’s a regret that follows me around like an anchor.
A couple years ago I did a talk in an Ontario high school about Rae, her life, and the way she died. Afterwards some students came over to thank me and say how sorry they were for what happened. One young girl in particular held back until I was alone, then approached me and simply said, “Last weekend I tried to kill myself.”
I asked who she told this too and she replied, “Just you.”
I think about that girl all the time and I so hope she’s okay (a teacher we reached out to helped her get into counselling).
We need to talk about suicide. Life can’t be allowed to get in the way.
Please don’t wish you had reached out. Reach out and let someone in the dark know you care, that it’s going to be okay, they’ll get through the day, and that life is worth staying for.
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