Hi y’all. It’s Friday instead of posting our favorites I wanted to share from my heart. This is my last Friday as a host of Friday Favorites. Our business is expanding and I’m actually running the store where I’m selling my Dixie Belle paints, rescued furniture, and other merchandise. It’s a lot to juggle so I’m letting go of this facet of what I do. Please be sure you’re following me on Facebook at Under a Texas Sky. I’ll also still be sending out monthly newsletters to those who subscribe to the blog.
I’m actually not posting favorites today. I wanted to talk about something that has happened in our family. A member of my extended family- a precious 13 year old girl; vibrant, smart, and full of life, killed herself on Wednesday. We’re still trying to process how this could have happened. In the midst of grief we’re searching for answers. Were their warning signs? What was missed? How could we have prevented this? I know in the weeks and months to come, some things will reveal themselves but it won’t change the outcome.
There are no easy answers. When you are the parent of such an intelligent, overachiever, there likely aren’t many obvious warning signs. It’s like in 2013 before our son-in-law was diagnosed with the cancer that ended up being fatal. We didn’t look for the warning signs of colon cancer before his diagnosis. “Healthy” 27-year-olds don’t tend to contract colon cancer, so why look for warning signs? By the time he realized something wasn’t right, it was too late.
I can only imagine that Alli, that’s her name, Alli, who was a straight A student, quick with a smile or a funny quip, put lots pressure on herself to be perfect, so much so she may have been reluctant to tell someone she was struggling. You may have children like this. I did. I never had to ride my kids over their grades, their reputation, or their success. The put enough pressure on themselves; striving to be perfect, they didn’t need it from me as well. Honestly, I wouldn’t have known if they were struggling with depression. I don’t know that they would have told me. They knew our expectation for them was to strive for perfection. To always do their very best. They might have thought it would disappoint us to know there was something not quite right going on with them.
Today, in light of this tragedy, I would certainly have talked to them about the hard things. I’d tell them how proud I am of all of their accomplishments. But I’d add that it’s okay, though, if they are having any kinds of problems. I’d let them know how much I wanted to hear about their struggles, that they could never disappoint me. I’m hopeful that all parents who may read this would purposefully do the same.
You’d never have guessed that this beautiful child was struggling. Some people, overachievers specifically, are good at hiding struggles. And when the person is just a child, it can become too much. Never would I have thought that this could ever, possibly be the outcome of her little life. None of us could. I know there are thousands of other children just like Alli. On the surface everything seems like they have the world on a string, but in reality, they are barely hanging on by a thread.
Talk to you kids. Reiterate to them how much you love them. If something, even something small seems amiss, explore it, get them help. If there are obvious signs, get them help. In other words, Get. Them. Help.
Mostly though, first listen and love.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline- 1-800-273-8255