If You Only Knew
by Rebekah DeWitt
Dear Sweet One,
Do you see the crowds forming? Do you see the massive line of souls growing just to pass by your casket? To whisper their final “I love yous” and “I miss yous”? Do you see that friend from middle school that you used to share secrets with? Do you see the neighbor boy who had always looked up to you?
Look closer. Do you see the pain in their eyes? The regret. The shock. Do you see the tears fall? Do you hear the sobs grow louder?
Oh, sweet one, how did you not know you would be missed? How did you not know you were so very loved?
So wanted. So needed.
Listen to me. You are NOT alone.
4 simple words. But their truth holds the key for so many struggling to grasp onto life for just one more day. One more moment.
Since this past August, life was just too much to bare for 9 dear teenagers in my county. 9 siblings. 9 best friends. 9 children. Needless to say, it’s been a heartrending time for our entire community. We must come together and reach those who feel like they are absolutely alone.
“The worst crying is when you’re lying in bed, with your hand over your mouth so you don’t make noise. The tears are running onto your pillow and your heart’s breaking and you’re thinking of everything that made you cry, and your other hand is on your heart or stomach because they both hurt.” (1)
Have you ever been there? I have. When you feel like no one understands you or even cares to try. It’s the emptiest feeling on this earth.
You may think it will never happen to one of your friends or family, but the sad truth is, it can happen to any child, at any time, from any family.
17% of high school students have thought about suicide. 8% have tried. To give that some perspective, in every classroom of 25 students, 2 will try to commit suicide. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death from the ages of 10-24. (2)
And although you may think those contemplating suicide would give warning signs, NOT all do.
Regardless, some warning signs to watch for are: if a person has been through a traumatic experience, suffered a form of mental illness, has been bullied, has dealt with relationship problems, has increased drug or alcohol use, or suffers from chronic pain. They may lose interest in things they previously enjoyed. They may start talking or writing about suicide. They may even start giving away personal belongings. They may withdraw from loved ones or activities, and experience major eating or sleeping changes.
If you are hurting to the core and have been struggling with any of these warning signs, there is HOPE. There is always HOPE. There is always a rainbow after the storm. There is always a hand to reach for and hold. Please, please do NOT hesitate to cry out for HELP.
Crying out for help can simply mean talking about it. Talk to your best friend, your parent, your teacher, your neighbor, anyone!
Ask for help from guidance counselors, medical doctors, pastors. You can also anonymously text 4hope to 741741. Or dial 1-800-273-TALK to be connected to someone ready and willing to listen.
We all just want to connect. We all need to be needed. We all need to know we are not alone.
Dear Sweet One,
You were NEVER alone.
About the Author: Rebekah DeWitt is grateful to have met the love of her life at the young age of 15. Together, she and her husband Brian have crossed many things off their bucket lists like skydiving and getting a porch swing. But the greatest was the birth of their two children, Brayden (4) and Isla (2). They reside in Canton, Ohio. Rebekah had the privilege of having her first book published in 2007. Geared for teen girls, it is called Holding His Hand: A Devotional for Teen Girls. Rebekah volunteers at the Make a Wish Foundation and her local church. She loves being a consultant for Rodan +Fields. In her leisure time, Rebekah loves making memories with her family, seeing the world, reading, and chick flicks.
2 : Statistics and Warning signs taken from the Stark County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery website