Why Does a 9 Year Old Girl Want to Die?

15 Jul

There are too many things to induce weeping at this time in my life but none more upsetting than news of a nine year old girl who has tried to take her own life. I know this child; she is such a lovely little girl. She is kind, polite, hard-working and humble – despite being musically gifted beyond her years.

Watching her perform at school concerts has been genuinely inspiring and uplifting. I am heartbroken that she has tried to take her own life. I feel engulfed by grief and I find myself shedding as many tears for this poor little girl as I have for my own mother since she was diagnosed with Cancer.

She may not be my own, but I long to help this vulnerable child and to find a way to wipe away her pain, even if it is not my place to do so. I have no right to interfere nor comment, yet I cannot switch off the desire to hug her incredibly tightly and tell her not to give up because I will fight for her life even if she won’t or can’t. I will stand up for her if she needs strength; I will shield her if she needs protection; I will battle for her if she needs an army. I will do anything to help her but I shall probably never have the chance because I am not supposed to know that she attempted suicide.

What should I do? Do I try to help anyway or act as if nothing has happened and respect her privacy? How can I stand back and deliberately not help this child? She is too young to want to die. I know that grief so well – we are so intimate, our fingers entwined in an unbreakable clasp that no power can hope to break. I know so horribly well exactly how this anguished little girl felt before trying to extinguish her short, barely-formed, life. It is agony to imagine her tiny soul so savagely engulfed by desperation and misery.

I would do anything to turn back time and pay her more attention. Were there signs I failed to see, too wrapped up in my own agonies to register another’s pain? Did I fail this child as I have failed myself? My heart weighs too heavy with sorrow and questions to formulate any answers. I feel so sad that this has happened. She really is such a lovely, talented little girl and has already offered so much to this world. She brings joy to so many, yet somehow not to herself. It is unbearably sad.

I cannot stop crying – not only for her but also for her devastated parents. This situation will affect them in ways they are yet to comprehend – the aftermath will be an agonising experience of raw pain, intense fear, crippling guilt, self-doubt and horror. I hope the relief that their child is still alive will provide ongoing comfort through the darkness ahead but I know all too well how it can obliterate even the brightest light; I have been lost in the dark for too long.

Children should be happy and carefree; none should want to die and take their own lives. Childhood is supposed to be the golden era; the period of joy and wonderment before the complexity of adulthood clouds every situation. A nine year old should be happy. A nine year old should be excited. A nine year old should be alive and safe, shielded from harm.

Of all the awful things that have transpired within the past two years, this is perhaps the one that I will most struggle to accept and understand. I feel the most worthless by being unable to help this child. I know in my heart that respecting everyone’s privacy is the right thing to do; imparting the news that we all know about her actions could tip this fragile little girl back over the edge. I cannot risk that. All I can hope to do is somehow find a way to act as a guardian angel from a distance; to keep her safe without ever revealing my intentions.

In the short term, I can help to rebuild her self-worth by celebrating her life. I can let her know that she is gifted, loved, liked and irreplaceable. She is worthy. She will never grow up to be as worthless as myself; she has never been, and never will be, expendable. I have to help her to recognise that in any way I can. I have to show her that she has a place in this world and shouldn’t want to die. I have to give her friendship and support, without attaching it to her suicide attempt. I have to show her the reality of her existence; she is loved.

I cannot bear the thought of this child feeling alone and suicidal. I just can’t bear it; it’s too painful and heartbreaking. This shouldn’t have happened. It’s overwhelmingly sad and wrong – so very, very wrong. Why did this happen? Why? I can’t bear it.


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