Having finished 13 Reasons Why on Netflix a few weeks ago, there is a line in the movie that keeps haunting me…
” And for those of you who will now be looking for signs everywhere… Here’s the scary thing. … It looks like nothing”
That gave me the idea to write a letter in advance to my 4 kids, on the off-chance that one day I might be missing something, to give them 13 Reasons Why NOT. It is addressed in the singular as I want each and every one of my children to know that while I have written this letter for all of them, I am also writing it with each one of them in mind as an individual. They are not in any of these situations right now (to the best of my knowledge) but if they ever find themselves there, I have tried to cover as many bases as possible.
While I wrote this letter for my own children, I truly believe this letter can be adjusted to be for almost anyone’s child or even tweaked into a letter to a friend, sibling, cousin or otherwise.
My Sweet Baby,
I pray to G-d that there never comes a time that you feel the need to read this letter, but if there does, then I hope that it will help you through whatever you are going through.
I also hope that you will come to realize that you can come to talk to me or to Daddy about anything, but I know that you still may not feel comfortable, if that is the case PLEASE – go speak to one of your aunts, uncles, grandparents, a trusted teacher or guidance counsellor, or one of our close family friends, or even a friend’s parent. Find a trusted adult with whom you feel you can open up, and let it out. Let it out before it consumes you. Let it out so that you see that once you do, the world will not stop and swallow you whole. Let it out so that you see that unburdening yourself may make you feel the tiniest bit better, but better enough.
I also hope that you will read and believe the following list of 13 Reasons why suicide is NOT a solution.
- The pain you may be feeling, for however long you have been feeling it: There are ways of working through it, and it is easier if you don’t attempt to do this alone. There is help available. If you want my help in getting it, I am here for you. You can also check the following link: 13reasonswhy.info
- As embarrassed as you may be, you can be stronger than the embarrassment. The very nature of embarrassment is fearing the judgement of others, but no one has the right to judge you until they have walked a mile in your shoes – not your friends, not your siblings, not your teachers, not even your parents.
- Whatever it is you are going through, I PROMISE YOU that there are others who have faced it and gotten through it. If you need help, Daddy and I can help or help you get help. If you don’t want to ask either one of us, think again, we are here for you. If you can’t bring yourself to ask me, ask whoever you can. See the list above.
- I know what it is like to feel alone…I mean REALLY, TRULY and COMPLETELY alone. I know because I have been there. I have been there even when you have been around me. Can you believe that? How could I ever feel alone when I have had the hugs and kisses and beautiful faces of you and your siblings around me? But it has happened that I have felt that way. So, just as you know that although I felt alone, you were actually there for me, I want you to know that although you may be feeling alone, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I am here for you and so is Daddy.
- As angry as you think your father or I may be at you, for any reason, as and angry as you may KNOW your father or I to be at you, for ANY reason, we will NEVER EVER EVER EVER be angry enough to feel that the world would be a better place without you in it. I repeat NEVER.
- If you have gotten yourself mixed up in a teenage pregnancy, that is not enough for me to to wish you weren’t here. You wishing your baby away or choosing to make that happen will not result in my judging you, and trust me that if that is where you’re at, you are better to ask for help than to try to do something under the radar. I Love You and I will help you in any way that I can. I also want you to know that if that is not where you’re at, you may be relieved to hear that some of the most devoted Moms that I know were teens or barely adults themselves when they got pregnant unintentionally. They didn’t plan for it, you can be sure they were worried about the judgement of others, but they kept on going and doing what needed to be done. Some ended up with the father of their baby and some didn’t. Incidentally, some of the most devoted Dads became Dads ‘too young’ as well. Ask any of them if they would change the way things turned out for them – they wouldn’t. Am I suggesting you take sex lightly and risk conceiving a child in your teens? Not even a chance. That said, you need to know…this is a situation where you might fear the judgement of others. Fear not – You won’t be the first, and you won’t be the last, but if you find yourself in this situation, I will be here for you. I don’t promise rainbows and sunshine, but I do promise that I will do everything in my power to support you in your choice, but I can only do that if you choose to live yourself.
- If you have decided to ignore the advice that your father and I and countless others have given to you about staying away from drugs and now find yourself in a ‘situation’ , there is always a way out. You may owe money that you feel you can never come up with to a scary individual, or that you are using more than you were comfortable with, or that you feel you are past the point of no return, or that you are having some weird symptoms that are scaring you – This is not a good enough reason to leave the planet, but a very good reason to come talk to me. You may be surprised to know that I know a few people who were once where you were , and probably deeper in than you are. I’m talking Hells Angels kind of scary…yet with the love and support of those around them they did the work and made it through to the other side. You know some of them and pretty sure you’d never guess what they’d been though. Am I telling you to try drugs and it will all be OK? NO. Capital N No. NO. NO. NO. BUT if you’re already there, then you’re already there and need to know that there IS a way out, and I will help you in the best way that I can.
- As much as you think you may have hurt or disappointed another human being, that hurt or disappointment is NOTHING compared to the pain and disappointment that they will feel if you were no longer here, G-d forbid.
- Do you feel that if I were aware of your sexual orientation I might be disappointed? You might be right. As open as the world is, life is still more difficult for some individuals than for others and we never want to see our child suffer through hardship. Do you think that I will cry? Yup. I will. Do you think that I will disown you? I will not. Do you think that I will be less proud to call you my child? Not a chance. Will I need to adjust my vision of your future? Perhaps – but that’s ok, because your future was never really mine to envision, it has always been yours to carve out. If you need to talk, I am here. If you need to find someone else to talk to, I will help you find them. You are and always will be my baby. No matter what. I won’t love you less, no matter what. This is so NOT a reason.
- This next reason why NOT is a little selfish on my part, but I’m going to share it anyway. I love having you in my life. Even though there are days that I scream at you, even though there are times where I can’t stand your attitude, even though you aren’t always the best at cleaning up your room, I am happier because you are in my life. You make me laugh and you make me smile. I love spending time one-on-one with you even though we don’t get to do that nearly often enough. I love hearing your thoughts, even when it seems that I am not listening. You make my world complete and without you in my world, I could never be whole again.
- You are beautiful, inside and out. I marvel at how gorgeous you are, but it’s not just because I am your Mom, People tell me all the time. More importantly, you are beautiful on the inside. Am I speaking to the right child here? Yes. No doubt I have called you selfish at times as I have witnessed your selfishness, but I have also witnessed your thoughtfulness and been blown away by your heart and your kindness. The world need more like you
- You are LOVED. You may not feel it right now. You may be reading this letter 5 minutes after I have yelled at you and possibly even said something horrible because we’ve had another mother-teen sparring match that went too far and you may be convinced that I have finally stopped loving you. You may also hate me right now. I didn’t mean to hurt you and I am sorry. I mess up too, sometimes and I am sorry more than you know. I know these words don’t necessarily make it all better, but I hope that you will know that they are true. You know that I don’t lie to you and I am not about to start now. I Love you. Daddy Loves you. Your siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins love you. Your good friends love you. Our family friends love you. Even if you are not feeling it right now, you are LOVED.
- Your Story isn’t over. Whatever you are going through now is part of your story. You may or may not remember that I once saw a notebook with the caption “Bad Choices Make Better Stories”. Of course I don’t want you to make bad choices, but we all do sometimes. Whatever you are going through now is part of your story, but your story isn’t even close to over yet. It’s the hardest times that make us stronger and some day you may be telling someone else this part of your story to help them get through something similar. Stay the course, live your journey. Your story isn’t over, it’s only just begun.
I Love you to the moon.
I Love you to the stars.
I Love you to the sun.
I Love you to the sky.
I Love you.
With all my Love, Always and Forever, Forever and a Day,
If you are wondering about my thoughts on watching 13 Reasons, I have written about that as well: 13 Reasons Why: My Thoughts.
Disclosure: I receive free Netflix streaming as part of the Netflix #StreamTeam. As always, all opinions contained within my posts are my own.