Looking over her shoulder, Susan could see only a mixture of hazed images. The trees far above the rooftop, bending from the weight of the snow that had been falling for days. The lights of the city, far off in the distance, glorified the simplicity of an act she knew she must do. Where she was, she thought nothing could hurt her.
Susan could think of nothing else, except how peaceful it felt to be alone, where no one would be able to find her, where she could only hear the muffled sounds of her parents inside her house, forever screaming at each other.
She was sitting now, legs dangling in the air. Susan studied them for a while, laughing pure joy as she allowed the snow to accumulate on her shoe, then fling it off with a slight kick, watching the snow as it would float to the ground, landing softly and finally becoming one with the land. Susan would then imagine she was a snowflake, and as she went to the ground, she would look in the window through which she could see her parents, and stick there for a moment. They never noticed her there, so she let herself fall.
There was no doubt in Susan’s mind why she was sitting on top of her parents’ house, during a snowstorm. She wanted nothing more than to be as peaceful and graceful as a simple snowflake. She had already tied up all loose ends, which consisted only of saying goodbye to Rex, the aging black lab who was her only true friend.
Steading herself, Susan stood slowly, careful not to fall. The time had to be right, she knew. Once she was standing, Susan tilted her head back and closed her eyes. Never had she felt so courageous. Moving her arms to her sides, she took a deep breath in. Taking a step forward, she let her last breath out.
She did not open her eyes to see if her parents were watching, she knew they were not. Susan stopped breathing before she hit the ground. As she lay there and the snow fell over her, fourteen years of life melted from her body and dissolved, perhaps faster than the snowflakes that cushioned her fall.
This was something that I wrote more than fifteen years ago, and found today. I decided to share it because it is still so pertinent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the leading causes of death among teenagers is suicide. “The Centers for Disease control report that it is the third leading cause of death, behind accidents and homicide, of people aged 15 to 24. Even more disturbing is the fact that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for children between the ages of 10 and 14.” That’s 4,600 kids who, each year, will never know that an awesome life can be just around the bend.
I share this with you today so that if you have kids, you check in on them. Life can seem really hard sometimes, and it can be so easy to not see the warning signs. I know what it feels like to be so wrapped up in life that you stop seeing what is in front of you, sometimes because one more problem may be too much to bear.
I was so lucky, am so grateful, that when I was going through divorce a friend suggested I send my daughter to a therapist. A great art therapist who let my daughter feel heard. Who gave her the tools to deal with her anger and confusion, and to know that she had someone who would always hear her. I know – we can’t all see a therapist or send our kids to one, but we can all check on our kids, right now; right at this very moment.
I have a bad habit of playing the “what-if” game with myself, concocting all sorts of worst-case scenarios. This short scene that I wrote years before my daughter was born still haunts me, because it fits into my what-if game so well.
One of the hardest things with doing energy work on others is that if there is no physical symptom that brings them in for a session, they don’t see the point. The point is that prevention is key to physical and emotional health, if you are lucky enough to begin before the symptoms appear. So, go check on your child. And I’ll go check on mine.
© 2015 Amy Sampson