My middle daughter came home the other day with this drawn on her arm. All my girls know how I feel about writing on themselves. They write phone numbers, names, dates…anything they need to remember and can’t find any paper. Of course, I reminded her of my feelings on this. Her response was not what I had expected.
She told me all the kids “tatooed” this on their wrists to help promote suicide prevention week. This is something that she has been struggling with. Not HER personally, but the fact that people, especially teenagers, feel this is the best solution to their problems. She doesn’t understand why someone would think death is better then dealing with or getting help for their problems. Now…please understand that she lives a VERY idealic life. She wants for NOTHING. However, as a teenage girl, she does have to deal with teenage stuff; ie, mean girls, boy problems, grades and all of the expectations that we, her parents, put on her. We DO expect all of our girls to do the VERY best they can at everything they do. They all also know that they can come to us and talk to us about ANYTHING that is bothering them. We pride ourselves in the fact that we have an open door policy with our girls. We talk about everything from dating and grades to underage drinking and what they want to be when they grow up. Now, don’t get me wrong. We are not so naive that we think our children are perfect…but they know we are there for them, even when they have gotten themselves into a little jam.
This is where the struggle comes in. My daughter doesn’t understand why everyone does not have this relationship with their family, friends or loved ones. I can’t answer that question for her. All I can tell her is not to judge other people and their situations until you have been in their shoes. I also remind her that depression has no socio-economic boundaries. She is a very compassionate girl (as are all of our girls), and wants to help anyone she can. Just listen…I tell her. The most successful people in life listen and don’t just hear.
So this week, the ink can stay. Be sure to tell those you love and care for how you feel and that you are there for them. It will make a HUGE difference in their lives.
You know how you meet a person and there is an immediate connection? This is how we feel about Jessica Bern. We met her at a SITS blogging conference in September 2010. She walked right up to us at breakfast and we all clicked. Recently, she asked us to put together a little video answering the question, “Who is Jessica Bern?” Of course, we jumped at the chance to tell the world EXACTLY what we think of her!
I received a text on Sunday from my dear friend, Ross. It was not a fun text, like he and I had been sending to each other over the weekend. It simply stated that his fiance’ and the love of his life, Jessica had been drugged while at a bachelorette party in Austin, Texas. She was in critical condition. He was rushing to her side and asked for prayers. Of course, I prayed. All of his friends prayed. I was so happy for them when they got engaged. Such a cute couple. Ross is a “big ‘ole boy” and Jessica is a little bitty thing. Couldn’t weigh more than 100 pounds; while he is well over six feet tall. They filled a room with their love.
The next time I received information on Jessica’s status was when Ross posted on his Facebook page that Jessica had passed away. I was driving home from College Station, when my 16 year old read the news. My heart literally hurt. Shock, sadness and anger all shot through me. Shock that this could happen to such a beautiful and vibrant girl. Sadness for the pain that Ross and the families were going through and a little bit of selfishness on my part that I was just getting to know this amazing woman. The anger was directed at the so called human being that felt the need to slip something into this beautiful girls’ drink. Ross’ post brought tears to my eyes. I always knew what a wonderful man he was, this just made everyone else realize it, too. Here are his final words to his sweet Jessica (no editing was done, other than I added a letter to a few words):
“My heart is broken for the loss of my best friend but I know I have to stay strong and be there for the family. Jessica you are an inspiration to thousands and I am blessed to have been at your side for the time we had. I love u so much and just want to hold you. God has to have amzing plans for you as his angel I miss you and will always love u. Thanks to everyone for the thoughts and prayers please be with the family and remember how special Jessica was in all of our lives.”
Be sure to let your loved ones know they are loved every day. They are only here for a short time.
The world lost an incredible woman this past Sunday. After battling cancer since 2007, Kris Ross went to be with the Lord. Kris left behind her loving husband and three amazing children. No matter what stage her disease was in, she never gave up on life. Kris was always willing to help others with a smile on her face. I remember talking to her after a particularly difficult time and her first question to me was about how my family was doing. I am still in shock over this loss, as is the majority of our community. To you, teamRoss, we dedicate this video. We love you!