Sorry We Woke You, But Your Daughter Threatened Suicide

4 years ago
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I'm sorry we had to call you last night. I know it wasn't a call you wanted to get. But my daughter doesn't get frightened, not like that. I've never seen her so scared.

They tried to handle it on their own, she and another friend.

Tried to tell the scared, little girl on the other end of a text message that life wasn't as bad as she thought. That she shouldn't hurt herself.

But it wasn't working. And then she didn't text back.

My daughter was shaking when she came into the kitchen. Couldn't speak at first. Couldn't share the incredible burden they'd taken on.

But once she did, I knew we couldn't wait. It was late on a school night. We didn’t know how to reach you. But I knew we had to pick up the phone.

So we called. We called every number we could find until you picked up, and I listened to my daughter, my brave, beautiful daughter, tell you in her quavering voice that your child was threatening suicide.

Credit: Marjan Lazarevski via Flickr Creative Commons

I could hear your voice on the other end of the line – calm, reassuring, accustomed. Easing my daughter's heart even while, I'm sure, yours was skipping a beat.

I'm grateful for that. I've wondered if I could have been so calm if it had been me on the other end of that phone. It's strange. I've never even met you, but we share an intimate connection neither of us wanted.

If I could talk to other teens, I would tell them what I told my daughter last night, what I will tell her, and all my kids, on many other nights.

You shouldn't try to handle a crisis like this alone. It is too big for you. Depression is an illness and you can't treat it. Just like you can't set your friend's broken leg, you can't mend a broken spirit.

When you're faced with the unthinkable, the unconquerable, you have to put it into the hands of people who might be able to help.

You have to make that call.

What I didn't tell my daughter is that I know what it's like when you don't get the chance to intervene, when the call comes too late for you to act.

I've lost dear relatives. I've been to the funeral of a young mother who couldn't fight the battle anymore. It is the worst feeling in the world, and you carry the burden with you forever. This is too big for us to fight on our own.

I hope we didn't wake you for nothing, but in my heart, I don't see how that can be true. I want you to know that I will always make that call even if it seems like a nuisance, like dropping a problem onto someone else. Even if I'm waking you from a peaceful sleep to the worst night of your life.

And I hope my daughter will, too.


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