This post deals with suicide and might be triggering for some readers.
I love my two girls. With every fibre of my being.
I would walk to the end of the earth if it meant that they were healthy, safe and loved.
I’m sure I’m not the only parent who feels like this.
But what if you couldn’t guarantee their safety?
What if you couldn’t guarantee that kiss on the forehead as they walked through the school gate wouldn’t be the last?
What if the biggest threat to their beautiful lives was themselves?
High school is all about five-minute moments. Post continues below.
My daughter’s friend Chloe* is this threat. She lives with it every day. She walks into the classroom with her head down for fear of what other kids may read on her face.
That she wants to end it. That she wants to make it all go away. That they win.
My daughter’s beautiful friend is nine. And she’s being bullied online.
At just nine years old, I can’t even fathom how her young brain is managing to wrestle with such mature emotions.
Chloe, at just nine, is already wishing her life was over, long before it has even started. She’s telling her friends that she is going to kill herself. She is telling her mum that she hates her life and wants to go to heaven.
I never imagined that I would have to sit my own daughter down and talk to her about the importance of living after Chloe told her that she wanted to die. I had to plead with my daughter to always come to me and talk, that no hole is too deep or too wide for us to dig out of together. She had no idea what any of this meant or how to process it all. She thought the hole was literal, not metaphorical.
Many of us born before the invention of social media can recall what it was like being picked on at school. The teasing would happen in the playground, and you would want the concrete to swallow you up. But then home time came and you could feel the breath that you had been holding escape your lungs as you stepped into your safe, warm bubble at home.
But not today, not for our kids. Advancements in technology have allowed the teasing, bullying, and even death threats, to come home with them.