Dear Loved Humans:
Too many of you are dying.
I am a mother and, in this moment, whether I am your mother or not, it doesn’t matter. Listen to me as if I was your mom. I have three boys and one daughter. I have earned the right to speak.
Our little town has a list of teens and young adults who have died. Some by suicide, others by accident, some by sickness and still others by drug overdose. It is a running tally in my head. When I must add a new name to the list, I grieve. I cannot sleep. I look at my own children and am afraid. I imagine your mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers. I imagine your friends. Your old crushes. And I ache. As I write this, my throat is closing, and my heart feels constricted.
I wonder how it can be sunny outside today when you are dead?
And I know, without a shadow of a doubt that what I write here cannot even touch the heart-ripping pain those closest to you are experiencing right now. My trauma in this moment, is a little trauma. Those who were nearest to you are living in a hellish GIGANTIC trauma.
Why am I writing? Well, because it’s how I process. And because I want to beseech the living in our town:
Don’t give up. Don’t give in. It’s somehow going to be ok.
If you are depressed, reach out. If you are drugging, reach out. If you are addicted to adrenaline and risk-taking, reach out. If you are being abused, reach out. If you are abusing others, reach out. I see your pain. Your cutting. Your binging. Your sexual acting out. I see your hopelessness. I see your depression.
And I see your brilliant resilience.
You internalize, and you keep going though you are so sad you can hardly breathe. I see that you carry so many large burdens of knowledge, feeling, and intuition.
I don’t know that I or any of the collective mothers in this town will have the right answers. But I promise you this, I will listen. And I will do what mothers do, I will try and find help. I look in the eyes of the other mothers in this town. They carry the same haunted feeling I do. They will help too. If we don’t hear you, ask again. And again. And again, until we do.
Because you, darling, are worth hearing.
You are worth the fight for life. Imagine that I am putting my hands on your face, looking deep in your eyes, and telling you that YOU ARE WORTH WHATEVER IT TAKES. Some of you might be cringing as you imagine this. It would take a shit-load of courage for me to do that but I mean it. YOU ARE WORTH WHATEVER IT TAKES. Please don’t leave us before you let us try and be with you in whatever pain you are living in.
And I ask collective forgiveness for the times you have tried to tell us, and we didn’t hear you. Forgive us for the times we have deaf ears. Let us have another chance to hear you.
And I commit to looking for you. For asking questions even when I feel hell-of-a-awkward.
Mothers. Fathers. Brothers. Sisters. Friends. Teachers. Coaches. Youth Leaders. Let’s keep our eyes open. We have lost too many. I don’t know how to change this. Except add my voice to the crying that I see everywhere. I want this to be more than words. I don’t know what action to take. But I will find one.
YOU ARE WORTH WHATEVER IT TAKES.