I like the concept, enough to steal the idea from her (which is probably prohibited in the “legal disclaimer” section…hmmm. Do I need one of those? Or does my header suffice?). There are times when a Facebook status update turns into a rant, but one that might be worth sharing, worth capturing.
This one seemed to resonate with people, and Vivian’s dad has actually encouraged me to share it far and wide, so in her honor, here it is.
A 17-year-old girl from my church took her own life this week. There are waves of heartbreak and grief in the wake of it; the pain is unfathomable.
Although I didn’t know her particularly well, this haunts me nonetheless.
From the age of 14 until almost 40, I was almost constantly suicidal, whether actively or passively.
If I had access to this thing we call the Internet at 17, I’m not sure that I would still be here. And I honestly don’t know how I made it through my late twenties.
But I am here. God spared my life.
I wish He had spared hers.
I wish I could tell her that it does get better, that at some point you will look at your life and be shocked to find that you are glad to be alive. That you will someday gain a new appreciation for the line in the story of Pierre that reads, “He rubbed his eyes and scratched his head/and laughed because he wasn’t dead”. This odd, giddy feeling that life is here and it’s horrible and wonderful all at once, but it’s here to be lived, and that you are still here to live it.
I wish that I could tell her that she was loved so much more than she could possibly comprehend, and that, no matter how she might have felt in any given moment, that there were people who could not – who cannot – imagine life without her.
On Tuesday, I flew to New York overnight for the sole purpose of seeing the Macy*s Christmas windows. I got to spend time with an old friend, walk until my feet ached, and take in the sights and sounds and smells of the city. It was a ridiculous, impulsive trip, and it made me ridiculously happy, albeit a few hundred dollars deeper in debt.
If I had died at 17, or even at 27, or 39, I wouldn’t have had this moment. I wouldn’t be able to feel the subversive pleasure of doing something you can’t really afford, just because life is here…just because you can.
If I had died at 29, there are a dozen or more children I never would have gotten to know. A million little moments – things Elijah or Donovan say that have me doubled over in laughter, the precious smiles and hugs from Jacylyn’s beautiful twins, sweet little Elias talking about “Aunt Rain”.
These are the little joys in life. They are sometimes few and far between, but if we look, we can find them. And somehow, in the spaces between those moments, we live, and we survive, and we remember that the bad times don’t last forever.
Life is not just hard; It’s brutal. It’s agonizingly long at times. It sucks to be the one who doesn’t get to die. Life is both a gift and a burden, and sometimes both at the same time.
I wish I could tell her all of these things, but I can’t anymore. So I’m sharing it here, because someone you know may need to hear these things. Maybe you yourself need to hear it.
The pain does subside. You are loved infinitely more than you can possibly fathom. You are here for a reason. Don’t ever doubt that.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes with the morning. And the morning does come.
Please, please, please, make sure you don’t miss it.