As i looked out the window last night the clouds were dark and sat low in the early evening sky. Across the horizon the dark blue clouds were separated by a pink cloud fizzing between them.
Just one text is all it took to blanket our home in darkness, to wash it pink and blue and purple, to leave it bruised and battered and dark and haunted.
Teengirl’s friend took her own life on Sunday night.
And teengirl is racked with guilt, her heart is bruised and her soul is battered. Her eyes are haunted and edged purple. Darkness has descended upon her and blackness covers her like a scratchy wool blanket.
Her friend is an internet friend. I spoke about her in my last blog. Teengirl has only met her briefly a couple of times. But they talked constantly online. Both of them sharing their normal teenage pain over the wires at first, then this troubled, damaged soul opened her heart to Teengirl and shared the pain of feeling neglected by her mum, ignored and emotionally abused by her stepdad, bullied at school, left out by her so called real world friends and feeling totally isolated.
On Sunday night she sent Teengirl an online message saying goodbye. Teengirl was, unusually asleep at the late hour. And she didn’t get the message until she was in class at school.
And this time, her friend had succeeded, she had taken her own life.
And Teengirl’s life has changed overnight.
Please know that I’m not in any way writing off this poor girl’s pain by writing about my daughter’s pain, I can only write about my own child, but my heart goes out to the family who have lost a daughter.
At first yesterday I felt there was something wrong, something I just didn’t get like it didn’t feel real when I collected my distraught teengirl from school. I couldn’t understand why I wanted her to confirm it to me, to provide me with details of this friend.
I know now that it’s because I’m from a different era where all our best friends are made face to face in the real world, we may keep in contact online, but we know them originally in real life and we make a point of meeting up.
In teengirl’s world best friends can be found online, soul mates lurk around every corner of the fibre optics that snake around the world wide web. They share more with each other online than they ever would face to face and they may even know these friends better than we know our real world friends. These friendships are so very real, it just took me a while yesterday to get my head round that.
Teengirl is just 13, how can she deal with this at 13? I was 15 when I lost a friend to natural causes. I have friends who were with him when he died and to this day they still blame themselves because they should’ve been able to save him. When in reality we all know that there was nothing anybody could do.
The day he died we lost the part of us that thought we were immortal, the part of us that gives teenagers that joie de vivre, that crazy edge, that belief that they can do anything because nothing can touch them.
Teengirl’s friend reached out to her online on Sunday night and she missed the message because she was asleep. She said to me yesterday in that monotone voice of shock: “I would’ve stayed up with her every night to stop her doing this. Why did I have to go to sleep when she needed me?”
I had to tell her she could’ve stayed up with her every night for six months but one night she would have to sleep and that would be the night her friend would take her life because it was what she wanted to do. That her friend didn’t want to live, that she was in so much pain that she didn’t want to be alive and feel that pain anymore.
“I helped her stop cutting herself, I could’ve helped her.” teengirl sobbed.
“No sweetheart, you couldn’t have helped her. You can’t control what someone does. You can give advice, you can hold their hand but you have no control over another person’s choices.”
“She asked me late one night, ‘mums are supposed to love you aren’t they?’. If her mum had loved her more than her stepdad she’d still be here.”
Oh the pain of being a teenager hurts enough without any extra pain that us adults cause them.
I held teengirl for a long time yesterday. And she slept in my arms on the couch as I watched the clouds turn dark and fall down into a deep blue depression over the hills.
When your child comes home from school tonight, hold them close, tell them you love them no matter what. Please do this for me and teengirl.