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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"What Your Mother Never Told You" by Richard Dudum.

One year ago, a very dear friend of mine lost his daughter. She committed suicide.

Our daughters grew up together. They held hands when they were four years old, put on lipstick and formal dresses that dragged on the floor when they danced together without shoes. They met every year at the annual father-daughter dance and every year they would leave the dinner table hand in hand for the dance floor. My daughter graduated. His daughter took her own life.

My friend’s life has forever changed. Not a day passes when he doesn’t think about the daughter he lost, question himself and wonder why. At times, he dreads falling asleep at night knowing that he will, once again, wake up to overwhelming pain—the reality that he will never see her beautiful smile, hear her laugh, touch her hand, or kiss his baby girl just one more time. He will never see her graduate or walk down the aisle on her wedding day. He will never feel the joy of being a grandparent and holding her child. His grandchild.

He would take her place in a second if he could, but he can’t. He can’t change or fix it. It’s final. Her presence is missed at every dinner, birthday, holiday and family celebration. His broken heart can never be repaired. His family is resilient and strong but will never be the same. He will never be the same. He is not alone; life will never be the same for her mother, brothers, sisters, friends—everyone who knew her.
No one recognized and fully understood the depth of her pain. She will never know their heartache and anguish now that she is gone. She must not have known that people truly do care and absolutely want to help.

Sometimes you may not realize how precious you are or how many people love you, even if we don’t always tell you or show you. Sometimes you may feel alone and lose hope. You could be upset or disappointed with a classmate, friend, parent, teacher, a situation or even yourself. You may have been hurt, have regrets, or made a mistake. Being a teenager is not easy, but it’s important to know how to handle yourself if the world seems to be crashing down around you. There are some truths that you can’t ignore and some things that you can do to help you navigate the transitional time of becoming an adult.
You need to know that you are here for a very special reason. The day you were born, this world became a better place. There are things you need to accomplish. There are people whose lives you need to touch, change and make better. There are wrongs you need to right. At times, it may not seem like it, but this world needs you, both now and in years to come. The people around you need you—your parents, siblings, friends, teachers, all of us need you. People you have yet to meet will need you.

There are times when it may be hard for you to realize how beautiful and important you are. You might take yourself and the people you love for granted. That happens. But please, please never underestimate your importance and your place in this world and in our lives.
I want you to know that you’ve got what it takes to handle anything that life throws at you. You can handle anything and everything that comes your way, if you just give yourself more time.
I’m asking you to give yourself more time. Give yourself time to deal with whatever it is that’s getting you down. Give yourself even more time to think things through and to figure things out.  Take a break. You don’t have to figure it all out today, tomorrow, or even next week or next month. Things don’t have to be perfect. It’s OK. Don’t let anything or anyone get the best of you. Turn that pain into focus, drive and determination to make things better. If you’re feeling down or you’ve fallen down, give yourself time to get back up. Rest, but don’t sleep too long. You have things to do but be satisfied with just doing your best.

Breathe. Focus. Stay in the game. Never give up! When you find yourself in a dark place, get out of your bedroom. Stay off the computer. Turn off the TV. Splash cold water on your face. Go for a walk. Smell the flowers, hear the sounds around you, and see the colors of the world. Feel the sun on your face. Distract yourself. Be active. Listen to good music. Dance. Laugh. Tell a stupid joke. Talk to family and friends in person, NOT on Facebook! Don’t dwell. Don’t over analyze. Don’t let your mind race or get the best of you. If that happens, tell your mind to KNOCK IT OFF!

Ask for help from parents, uncles, aunts, teachers, counselors, coaches, clergy, friends—each and every person you can think of to help. It’s perfectly OK. We all need to advocate for each other and ourselves. Never be ashamed or too proud to ask for help for yourself or someone you care about. Everyone needs support along the way. If you don’t know how to ask for help with your voice, write a letter, send an email, try as hard as you can to communicate and send the message to the world that you really do want and need help. If you don’t know whom else to ask for help, click on the links and call the phone numbers listed below ANYTIME 24/7. No one has all the answers, but everyone can help.

Please don’t hurt yourself…no matter how upset, humiliated, or rejected you may feel. Believe it or not, every day is a gift, even though the day may not always seem so good. I learned that lesson after fighting cancer. No matter how bad the day is, you were given a gift on that day—the gift of waking up, opening your eyes, having another chance to change things, to make things better for yourself and the people around you, to grow stronger and more resolved. You were given the gift of time to try to make good things happen in this world. You may not know it yet, but you really are getting stronger and more capable with each passing day. Just give yourself more time.

As I sat and spoke with my dear friend about the daughter he lost, he asked me to say something to you. Here are his words:

Pull back. Stop. Don’t let go. Don’t disengage. Don’t give in. Don’t give up. Take control. Get back up. Ask for help. Let us help. Give yourself more time for things to get better. Let it pass. Things will get better.

No act of God, man or nature will cause us more pain for the rest of our lives than losing you.
Please…never hurt yourself…never…Please!

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