13 REASONS WHY
As a parent of suicide, I decided to watch “13 Reasons Why”, it took me eighteen months after my loss to find the courage to do so. I wondered how realistic it would be, in relationship to my experience, as a parent who is suffering with the loss of losing my child from suicide and from my daughter’s perspective, as a ninth grade teen.
The first few episodes made me angry because I felt it was so unfair that we, the survivors, don’t get the opportunity to defend our reasons why; why we didn’t listen, why we were too busy to hang out, why we didn’t say we were sorry. It was their choice, for example, Hannah, who is played by Katherine Langford, to end her life, but they didn’t allow us the chance to defend our perspective, our faults, and our mistakes.
Subsequently, we are left with this inconceivable emptiness in the pit of our stomach and a never-ending ache in our hearts, without the ability to fix or solve the problem. We can’t help them anymore because it is too late, they are gone and are never coming back. It just seems so unfair.
From a parents’ perspective, I understand Hannah’s mom, who was played by Kate Walsh, sadly too well. The heart-wrenching fantasy in pretending for just a few minutes, that she has her daughter. Her desire to believe she can still make future plans of college applications, wedding preparations and grand-children. If only for a few moments, making you smile that the world is still okay, before the flood of reality suffocates you with the realization that she is gone and you are alone with only your memories. The past is forever in your for-front of reality, with no present and no future.
However, I do agree with Clay, who was played by Dylan Minnette, when he explains to the school counselor, that he could have made a difference in Hannah’s decision not to die. We all have that power, but we don’t see it at the time. It is all in retrospect and this is where, we as survivors, torture ourselves into believing it is our fault and we should have done this or done that. However, I still believe that once they have it in their minds to end their lives, there isn’t much we can do to change it. First of all, we, as humans, are not equipped with understanding suicide, even when it slaps us in the face, especially as parents and loved ones. We want to desperately believe that they are okay, so when they tell us that they are, an overwhelming sense of relief envelops us, even though somewhere in the back of our minds, we don’t fully believe them.
I guess the bottom line, is that a person who is contemplating suicide, is reaching out for help. Yes, they will do whatever they can do to sabotage your attempts to save them or make them feel better, because a big part of them doesn’t want to be saved; however, there is still the smallest part of them that wants you to save them and they will give you many chances to do so.
That is why I believe awareness is the best solution. If we know what to look for, distinctive qualities and behaviors, then we are that much closer to being there for them when they need us. All we need is to save them one extra day and that day will turn into another.
All any of us have, is the present, for we can’t solely live in the past nor the future. Therefore, if we take life day by day, perhaps we can save the next person who is thinking about suicide. My wish for the world, is that no person should have to experience the pain of suicidal thoughts or the destruction left behind when someone we love dies to suicide.
We must remind them and ourselves, daily, that we are not alone, it is merely a trick of our mind, but we are loved and will be missed if we were to leave this world and those who love us. It is up to us to spread kindness and acceptance to all those we come into contact. You never know, who may be hurting, at that exact moment, when you pass them on the street or in the hallway at school, or in your work place; a gentle smile or compliment can change their life and those around them forever.