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A Teenager Drives, A Teenager Dies & a Mother Cries

by Ilana Angel

August 25, 2011 | 10:06 pm

PLEASE CALL IF YOU NEED HELP

I spent Thursday afternoon with my son at the DMV.  It was exciting and scary, and yes, since you asked, I cried.  When he passed the test he went through the entire room and high fived everyone.  It was really fantastic and I was so proud of him.  Watching this child grow up is my greatest joy.

He will be great behind the wheel, and I am not worried about his driving. It’s everyone else that freaks me out.  He is responsible and I am happy for him to have this new independence.  As nervous as this right of passage makes me, it is a baby step towards adulthood and my letting go.

My boy and I went out for a little celebration and headed home.  I am trying to knock out a flu bug before it fully kicks in so I went to rest.  Between the insane heat, the excitement of the day, and not feeling great, I dozed off.  My son came to wake me up and looked very sad and upset.

He let me know that a 17 year old girl who many of his friends know, killed herself.  All the kids were talking about it on Facebook, and apparently her friends were told in school today that she took her own life.  I looked at her picture and I could not stop crying.  She was so lovely.

The kids were writing about how they had seen her the day before, and she looked fine.  She was a beautiful girl and I cannot imagine the pain that causes a child to make this choice.  My heart aches for her family and weeps for the milestones this precious child will not experience.

As I was celebrating with my child, another mother was devastated by the loss of hers.  My son and I had a conversation about suicide, loss, depression, pain, sorrow and what life is like when things are dark.  There is so much pressure on teenagers, and I learned a lot from our talk.

Being a teenager is hard. There is so much going on that it’s daunting.  This tragic news has made me look at my child’s life and feel compassion for him. I need to give him credit for navigating his way through it all.  He is defining himself and his worldview, and doing a great job.

To this dear child who took her own life, I wish you peace.  To her parents, you are in my prayers. To my own child, I love you, I am proud of you, I get it, and you are doing great.  Love your kids and teach them to love each other. Take time out of your weekend to keep the faith.

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