“I don’t want to live anymore. I just want to die.”
Those are the exact words my teenager said to me last Thursday. I was heartbroken, scared, angry and of course, confused. She has been doing so well these past few weeks. She’s been so happy. Everyday when I’m making dinner, she rattles on about her day, how great or bad it was, how great school is, and so on and so forth. So when I got a call from the school on Wednesday of last week saying they had heard from the principal of another school that one of their students, her best guy friend, had said that he was afraid she was going to hurt herself, I was floored. There is no way! Not my child. She’s happy! But then came the phone call from her school on Thursday. She was in the guidance counselor’s office, and she was “not doing good.” I rushed down there, and sure enough, she had told her counselor that she “just wanted to die, and she had a plan to kill herself.”
It took everything I had not to cry. The counselor then told me that, if a student has suicidal thoughts, it’s procedure that they be taken to EMH at the nearest hospital. I gathered her and all of her things together and took her to the ER. I had to take Lo with me, because I had no one to watch her - not something I wanted to do, but I had to. So there we were, all three of us at the ER talking to various doctors about the situation. Come to find out my daughter’s ex boyfriend has been harassing her, having his friends harass her and grope her. This was all new to me. I haven’t heard about this kid since the incident last school year when he got suspended for harassing and threatening her. Why didn’t she tell me? How did I not know? Why didn’t she trust me enough to tell me??? This is all that kept running through my head while she talked to the doctors. I was stunned. Stunned and sad. I was failing somehow. She doesn’t trust me.
After the ER doctor walked out to get the paperwork ready for EMH, she looked at me and said, “You have so much on your plate. I didn’t want to worry you.” Yeah, because my kid killing herself isn’t worrisome at all. I just sat there staring at her, because I didn’t know who she was anymore. Then she said, “Mom, right now, I don’t want to live anymore. I just want to die.” I stood up and put my arms around her. There was nothing I could say to that, so I just hugged her tightly. That’s when Lo looked up from her toys and joined us. She started singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to her big sister to “Make her happy again.” I think that made it worse, because my teenager just broke down. I told her that we’d give her a few minutes alone if she wanted, and she did, so Lo and I stood outside the door while she cried her eyes out. Giving her the space she needed was the hardest thing I have ever done, because all I wanted to do was wrap my arms around her and never let her go again. You see, to me, she is still that tiny 3 year old little girl watching me put my makeup on and telling me that I “was the most beautiful Mommy in the whole world and she is never, ever going to leave me. Ever!” I think all Mothers feel that way.
After a while, the EMH doctors came to get her to do an eval. It took all of 10 minutes before two people came out, the psychiatrist and the therapist. Both were in agreement that it would be in her best interest to be admitted as soon as possible. Jesus Christ!!! They wanted me to commit my child?! They went on to say that they were certain, without a doubt, that she would try to kill herself if I took her home. I just hung my head. What do I say to that? I simply said, “Ok. I think it’s best.” I had to choke the words out, because saying it almost killed me. They planned on transporting her via ambulance, because she was considered high risk suicidal and they didn’t want to chance me driving her. It only took about an hour before they had a bed and the ambulance was ready to transport her to the hospital in Natick. I gave her a kiss and set off to grab a few things for her before heading to the hospital. Longest. Drive. Of. My. Life.
The place she was at wasn’t bad at all, more like a secure hospital wing than a “nut house.” We got her all checked in, and the nurse said a short goodbye would be best, so we had a chance to talk for a few minutes. This is when I actually got to tell her exactly what was in my heart. “Raven, this is not the end of the world. Things will get better. You are in a safe place with people who can help you, because I obviously can’t. Just know that I love you more than life, and I would do anything for you. Anything! We are going to get this figured out, and I am always here for you. Always!” She just cried and cried and kept saying how sorry she was - sorry she wasn’t stronger, sorry she didn’t tell me about the harassment, sorry she disappointed me. What she doesn’t know is that I was the one who was sorry. I was the disappointment. I should have seen this coming. We said our goodbyes, and I promised to visit daily until her release.
She’s home now. Home and happy - not completely mentally happy, but we’re working on that. First thing I did was march right down to the court house and filed for a restraining order. The boy obviously thinks he can get away with this, so I proved to him that, no, he can’t get away with harassing young women…especially my daughter. She feels better about it. She’s also promised to talk to someone, anyone, from now on, even if it’s not me. I don’t care, just please! Talk to someone!!
Parents, I can not impress upon you enough just how important it is to be involved in your children’s lives. Question everything. Watch for signs and talk to their friends. Even if they look happy and act like everything is fine, still ask. I could have lost my child last weekend, and that scares the shit out of me. Yes, I have a lot going on, but that’s no excuse. Yes, she hid it well and lied to everyone, but still, somehow I feel like I should have known. I’m trying not to beat myself up about it, but it’s hard not to. I do know one thing, nothing is ever going to be the same after this past week.