Anger, guilt, shame. What could have we done?
It was around Christmas time. We sat around the kitchen island, making a gingerbread house. The taste of the gingerbread has never been my favourite, but the time spend on decorating would bring anyone back to their childhood.
She: You know… so my friend’s sister, well, it was sad all around… but she hung herself. *subdued*
Me: Oh… I can’t imagine the pain your friend is going through… and also the family. It must have been a shock.
She: Well, actually, it wasn’t. They’ve known her suicidal behaviour. She’s attempted twice before, and when she succeeded, it was at her aunt’s house. They thought she’d be safe with the constant watch of her aunt. *resigned*
Me: Oh… I hope the family didn’t blame themselves… *heart sank*
She: I don’t know, but I heard the boyfriend did. Actually, I think she went to the same university with you. You probably don’t know her though. She’s a year older.
We took the same class.
If I managed to get there on time, I would sit beside her.
She had the warmest smile and the most beautiful hair.
And she always seemed… happy.
The woman was sitting two seats to my left. She came to the workshop with a friend. In front of her, a box of tissues had been emptied out. None of us spoke. We sat listening. The volume of the room was dialled down to the sound of sniffing.
She: I had agreed to let my daughter go to the summer program, but I’m so conflicted inside. It’s a month long and all the way across the country. I don’t know if I should tell the counsellor to keep an eye on her. She’s in high school and that kind of attention might… might make her feel uncomfortable. I really… I really don’t… know… what to do. *managed to squeeze the last few words out through sobs*
Her: Thank you for sharing. That must have been a difficult decision as a mother.
She: Yes. She has had suicidal tendency for two years. I feel so helpless. *looked up red eyes*
The friend put both arms around her shoulders.
Her: I think there are a few strategies that could lessen your worries while your daughter is away. How about we look those after the workshop?
The emotional burden is too great for anyone to bear.
So, let’s talk.
We are all listening.