It's the kind of thing that we don't like to think about, let alone speak of. It's the news that sank my heart in an instant and made me so painfully award of how helpless and finite I am, and we are. It threw a shadow over a school and showed two hundred and twenty-two students that life is so much more complicated than they ever thought or hoped it would be.
She killed herself.
The words themselves sound ugly; they talk about such a horrible tragedy, something that was never, ever meant to be. A person who seemed to always have an uplifting word to say and who so, so many people called friend isn't supposed to just stop. High school students were made for living, for laughing with friends and learning to drive and going to football games and dreaming about the future; those days aren't supposed to be cut short and we all know it, and I think that's why the reality of suicide sits especially uneasily with us. We know, instinctively, that something has gone wrong in the very worst way.
She was clinically depressed, that's what they said. That's the cut-and-dry explanation, the one that's supposed to make everything clear and wrap it all up in a neat package to be filed away so that we can go on living comfortably. But for friends and family and anyone who's touched on what happened, that explanation isn't nearly enough, and I'm glad it's not. I don't want to be comfortable if it involves turning a blind eye when a teenage girl is driven, for whatever reason (it doesn't matter) to take her own life. I hope that being faced with a harsh, hard reality makes us uncomfortable enough to get involved when we see things like this going on.
As I scroll through my Instagram and Facebook and talk to friends, I'm encouraged by the love that I see expressed for her and her family. The support pours out to overflowing, and it's absolutely incredible. To be completely honest, though, the paragraphs upon paragraphs of kind, kind words, and even the words I'm writing right now, also make me sick to my stomach, because they're a couple days too late. We didn't know that she needed them, and that hurts me more still - as I watch yet another repetition of the cycle of tragedy and coping, tragedy and coping, I find myself wishing that someone would show up and break it. It seems like I've gotten better at dealing with the aftermath, but I'm so slow to do anything that could change a situation for the better before it gets worse. I'm good at talking, but doing is something that I'd much rather leave to someone else. The world, as a whole, is great at talking and analyzing events; we're experts in speculation and could probably graduate with high honors from the school of Knowing What's Going On; however, we aren't as good at paying attention to people - something has, indeed, gone wrong in the very worst way. That's not to say that heartbreaking things can't happen under the watch of the most compassionate and attentive of people; they can and do, because life's not the way God made it to be anymore. It is to say, though, that hurt and destruction erupt too often without our notice, and the world keeps spinning smoothly on its axis while all over things are anything but smooth.
My prayer for this situation is that it would move us to action; that we'd be unwilling to let another moment pass in which we could have done something and didn't. I hope (and maybe this is morbid but I don't care) that she'd stick in our minds to the point that we can't help but take the very next chance to say the words we've been meaning to or do that thing that we know we should, and that because of it we change the way we act. I want us to care to the point that her death deeply affects us, even if we didn't know her. I don't want her life and death to be for nothing. What I want most, and what I think really has to happen, is for us to take a long enough break from our worried discussion and endless speculation to finally do something.