A life taken too soon

Ten days ago, a local teenager changed the cover of her Facebook page.

In September, the cover showcased characters from “Supernatural.”

On Oct. 5, it was changed to a photo displaying the sun shining from behind clouds with the steeple from a church near the bottom.

The girl who changed her Facebook page took her own life the morning of Oct. 15, 2013.

I wonder if she knew what she was going to do today?

Nonetheless, the affects of her suicide are rocking a small community in Lorain County, Ohio.

I sat at my computer today, listening to an automated message left by the school’s superintendent. I only caught a few words, but they were enough to have me, as a mother, on edge.

“Letter being sent home today.”

“Discuss with your child(ren).”

The journalist in me wanted to know what was going on in my small, farming community.

I knew it wasn’t “good news,” but I didn’t for a second think it would be devastating news either.

So many friends are trying to figure what happened in her life that would prompt her to end it so soon.

Others are trying to figure out how they can possibly help a family cope during their time of grief.

Every day, our children enter an environment we as parents “believe” to be safe.

But sadly, our schools aren’t what they used to be.

There are shootings, terrorist attacks and bullies.

There is speculation into what may have prompted this young girl to take her own life.

If it was because of bullying, I can’t begin to fathom how the students who “caused” this to happen are living with themselves tonight. The extreme guilt I would feel if it were me would eat me alive.

We have all heard about “mean girls” and we know they invade every single school in America. No school is immune to such girls. And, it may not even be that these girls (or even boys) knew what they were doing. Sometimes it’s just a look, a stare, a glance, a sneer or a comment from a “mean girl” that can make a teenager feel less important.

My piece of advice today is this:

“Make good choices every day” and SMILE at someone.

Smile at a stranger to make them feel important.

A smile can convey happiness.

A smile can convey a sense of “You know, I am OK and everything will get better.”

A smile can offer HOPE where there is none.

A smile may save a life.

 

 

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About Parenthood: The New Crazy Train

Parenthood is no easy task, and there is no reason to go at it alone. So, if you are feeling like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, dump it off, grab a beverage and hop onboard Parenthood: The New Crazy Train -- where we are all permanent riders and new riders are welcomed daily. Follow me on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/ParenthoodthenewCrazyTrain Twitter @train_crazy *Photo credit Kristin Bauer*
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8 Responses to A life taken too soon

  1. hollowroseheart says:

    “A smile may save a life.” Beautiful, thank you for sharing this thought.

  2. Casey says:

    Well said Melissa!!!!

  3. Pam says:

    I enjoy reading your posts and especially since you are from the area and I remember you. What a tragic story and a senseless loss to this community. Bullying has been going on a long time, but now because of social media, it seems to be more accessible for anybody to say anything that they want to somebody and everybody can read it. It is a big problem in this area and kids are getting bullied younger and younger. I hear many stories about kids being bullied on school buses and nothing is getting done about it. I have talked to other parents/grandparents and they talk about how their kids/grandkids are scared to go to school because of bullying and the retaliation if they say anything to anybody about it. This is so sad to me, I remember a little bit of that going on when I was in school, but nothing like it is now. This has to stop and soon or many young lives will be lost. I like the idea of giving a smile to somebody, its free and you never know what kind of day they may be having and that’s all they might have needed to make them feel good about themselves.

  4. Speaking from the other side- this is nothing new. It has been going on for years – I grew up always and I do mean always being the heaviest kid in the classroom. I attended a Christian school and was teased and tormented everyday. Mean kids are nothing “new”. What has changed is you no longer need a gun in the house to make yourself “disappear”! Internet has given our children ways to research how to make the hurt go away painlessly – promises that you will never feel alone and unloved again. We as parents must open up a dialogue and make sure we tell our children it is wrong to bully in any way – no mean words – no nasty glances – it’s not our place to judge others. Set an example – allow them to see you reaching out to help someone load groceries into a car – pick up something they have dropped on the ground or just compliment them on the color of the top they have on. It costs NOTHING to PAY someone a compliment ~ and by doing so it may save their life! Someone said to me it’s not normal to have to burry your child – I told them it happens all the time – car accidents, medical afflictions, birth defects…what is NOT normal is to make someone else feel inferior in order to make one’s self feel superior and that my friends comes from home. One is not born with hate they learn it! Even as a 45 year old adult I was in a drive thru in Amherst only to have a little league team stand in a pavilion and call out nasty comments to the people in their cars – barking like dogs and grunting like pigs…with their parents and coaches sitting at the picnic tables just feet away! That kind of behavior has to STOP! Parents need to get off their iphones and pay attention to their children – take moments like this to be a parent not their best friend. Teach respect by word and action – not everything you think needs to come out of your mouth – that is why God gave you 2 ears to listen with and only one mouth to speak with. You only have one heart and when it becomes broken your spirit shatters too!

  5. I’m not sure if I know you or not – I came to this blog through an old school friend’s link on Facebook, so it is possible. Either way, I have something to say, because I grew up in a small community in Lorain County, Ohio, and if anyone knows bullying first hand, I did.

    Yes, I was different. I still am, in more ways than just a few. While I grew up there were a few – usually those older than me – who appreciated my differences; I have comments in my old yearbooks from these friends telling me never to become a “carbon copy person”. More often though, I was “teased”, made fun of, emotionally and even physically abused as a child/teen by an extremely large number of other children/teens. Now I see these people are grown up and they have families and they talk about how bad bullying is as if they never did it to anyone else. Hey folks – remember me?? The funny looking kid, the short kid, the kid with thick glasses, the kid that refused to believe in Evolution and even argued with the teacher about it … yes, you made fun of all those things and more about me. And now you act like you don’t understand these other kids that do it.

    I considered killing myself. Several times. The only reason I never did was because I was afraid I’d go to Hell. My grades suffered because frankly, I didn’t want to think about school when I wasn’t there. If I could escape it by daydreaming when I was there, I would. If I felt even a little bit sick (and I did often, because of what I was going through), I would get a full-blown illness so I could just miss school. My socialization suffered because some who would have been friends decided not to be because then they would also be targeted, and because those who forged past that I was suspicious about – “I’m the nerd, why would you want to be MY friend?” There was one boy I thought was a best friend that later in High School I learned was making fun of me at home with his brothers. When I asked why, he told me, “We were never friends.” Girls wouldn’t go out with me and when my friend and I went stag to our Senior Banquet, we were called gay. I didn’t have a real date until I was 23.

    So there is pain in my past and it gets dug up from time to time, especially when something like this happens. There’s a story this morning about a Florida girl who killed herself and a 2 and 14 year old arrested for bullying. I don’t think my bullies should ever have been arrested, but I do think they were very mean, and very hateful. Since we have grown up, a few have apologized to me – usually, they were the ones I never even noticed were saying or doing anything. My worst bullies act like we were always buddies when we grew up. Get real! I forgive them whether or not they have asked – if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have anything to do with them on Facebook or anything else – but it would be nice if they actually ACKNOWLEDGED how they made me feel and said they are sorry. I forgive them, but there are still scars.

    Parents – you want to think you live in a rural area, so this isn’t a problem where you are. You’re wrong. You want to believe your kid goes to a small school so everyone is friends and it doesn’t happen there. You’re wrong. You want to believe your kid doesn’t do this – or doesn’t go through it. You’re wrong. Be aware, and talk to your kids. Make sure they aren’t afraid to talk to you. Know that even if they aren’t afraid to talk to you, they may hide things like this … a lot of bullied kids think it’s their own fault. I did.

    Kids who read this who are bullied … know that it will get better. One day, sooner than you think, you will be sought after for your uniqueness. I’m not just blowing smoke, I’m one who knows. I’ve been where you are. Even though I can still speak about the pain of my past, as I did here, it is not something that still causes anguish. Keep fighting – you can rise above it.

    • Sue says:

      what a beautifully written letter, YOU have expressed my thoughts so well, I am sure we are different generations, but I want to add a thought…… I think we all have been on both sides of this,issue, that is why it hurts so much. I had a friend who’s wife died the same day my mother passed on, both being in pain, but also of a different generation, we did understand the others hurt,, He called me and said he’d found help, he had always felt different too, as he was super intelligent, a scientist, but unable at 60 to make friends , he had discover a simple vitamin a combination of many B vitimins, it changes you thought wave in minutes, Please people when sad try this it may save a life, I know it has mine, but my thoughts go from negative to better in a very short time. I have used B vitamin, for 33 yrs now, before that I was often suicidal , from my teen years on , with a couple doctors that laughed at me and didn’t understand either. so I hope this helps anyone who is in need.

  6. Susan Hunkley says:

    Thank you for saying that! Girls are very mean! And a smile can change a life! Just wish more kids would get involved! TELL!!!!!! They might not be your friend but at least say something. You don’t have to be cruel to people to be cool! Everyone deserves respect and kindness! Mrs. Hunkley

  7. Pam says:

    yes, I agree that girls can be very mean- I raised two daughters and I saw some of this firsthand, but boys can also be just as mean- I had a family member who was bullied by the other boys and horrible things were said to and about him his whole childhood. I think respect has to come from the parents first, i have seen some parents go right along with mocking as stated by another comment on here- they need to learn by example.

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