Editor’s Note: The following is a difficult post to read. It is not about technology; it is about suicide. I am posting it here because it’s important and because my friend Richard asked me to. If telling his story, with the knowledge that it may help prevent a similar situation, gives him even the smallest modicum of comfort, then we’ll do it. If you or anyone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, please call the free national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 (in the U.S.) or visit the website here. A list of international suicide prevent hotlines are available here. -Sara Abrons
“Dad, I’m OK.” That’s what Alex said to me Tuesday afternoon. Alex has been suffering from social anxiety and general depression since receiving a concussion last fall playing soccer, but we felt things were moving in the right direction. Recently she had fallen in love with a longtime friend and there was more of the old Alex happy face around. Suicide had been something that Alex said she considered in the past and we took that very seriously, but she was telling her therapist and us she was past that now and we were believing her.
There was a pounding on the front door and it took me a moment to wake up. When I got down to the door there was a police officer there and he asked if I had a 16-year-old daughter and that I needed to check on her. In her last waking moments, Alex called her boyfriend then fell asleep while talking and he knew something was wrong. Alex wasn’t breathing and had no pulse when we found her, and my wife and I immediately started CPR. The paramedics arrived only a few minutes later and started doing their thing to save her. They quickly got her out the door and we were off to the Emory Emergency room – Thank God, because we knew this was the best place to be for and emergency.
For almost two hours they had tried to get her back, but her heart would beat for a while then stop again. They tried tirelessly with heart compressions and as soon as one person was tired another stepped up to continue. Over and Over they tried. We knew it wasn’t working, but they continued. They were all at a point of exhaustion when they gave it one more go.
They let us sit with Alex for a long while afterward and we held her hand and kissed her checks until it was time to go. We went home and were surrounded by all our friends and family with more arriving every hour. Everyone tries to say some words to help but really just their presence is all we need because there is nothing to say. The last entry into her diary said “I’m just tired.”
- If love could not save her what could? In my heart I think Alex made one bad decision on one bad day. One impulsive decision that couldn’t be taken back.
- Sports concussions on children are worse than we believe. We need to stop Headers in Soccer and add more head protection in all sports.
- Girls can be very mean to each other. We can’t just talk about bullies; we parents must ensure that Our kid shares warmth not hate to those they don’t like.
- “13 Reasons why” (a movie) is great if you are not contemplating ending your life. For those in danger it glorifies suicide and makes it seem not so hard to do. If you are the editor of this movie reach out to me.
- Don’t believe it when your daughter says I’m ok. Check on her often if she is a risk. Share how important it is to just hang in there and get past the teens. Get her in therapy.
- Watch nutrition and get her exercise.
- Share this with parents, coaches and therapist you may know.
Alex’s last words to her boyfriend were, “It’s going to be OK.”
Consider donating to http://www.soccerstreets.org/ for Alex.