Publishers note: This is a response to the author of “I am a Suicide Attempt Survivor” which I felt supremely inspired by and have shared with a number of friends, since we all went through eerily similar situations at the same school as the referenced author.
I am sorry.
I am sorry you were surrounded by beings who were supposed to be your friends, but weren’t.
I am sorry you were taught by adults who were supposed to educate, but didn’t.
I am sorry you felt alone.
I am so sorry I couldn’t cry with you at the struggle growing up in such a broken system.
I am sorry you felt so weak. So much ache. With no one to turn to.
I am sorry for all those pleas fallen on the deaf ears of those who should have cared.
I am sorry no one cared enough.
I am sorry I wasn’t around to run and hide with you from those you should have been able to run toward.
I am sorry you struggled so much because of stigmas.
I am so sorry I couldn’t be of consolation about it all.
I went through it all, too. A little differently, and ten years earlier, but in the same system.
So I wish I could have been there.
To share what took me years to realize.
Those large hallways with strict only-walking rules,
Those filthy maroon staircases with so many voices walking them,
Those small offices with so many people hustling in and out,
The cramped desks with names etched in them forever,
The haunting feelings from reaching the school corner,
The anxiety as the wooden doors open to the appropriate floor,
The shivers and the goosebumps when publicly shamed again.
The never-ending columns of tables with pristine white plastic tablecloths.
The whispers and laughter from classmates and teachers.
The lockers with dreamy and safe sweaters from school forbidden companies.
The books never quite explained well.
The wondering why you were ever created to endure so much.
If you could ever trust again.
If your parents, your family, will ever accept you.
If you will ever make friends.
Meet people who will stand by you.
Believe in you.
In your worth.
If the Rebbe’s school,
If his shchuna,
Is as glorifiable as you are told.
I wish I could have been there.
Because the tears you cried; I shed them, too.
I wish I could have presented all the people I found years later.
Because the loneliness you felt; I felt it too.
I wish I could have whispered; stay strong!
Because the multitude of times you felt you couldn’t, I did too.
I wish I could have gifted some precognition.
Because the concerns you wondered about; I shared them too.
I wish I could have closed that medicine cabinet.
Because while I have never considered or attempted suicide, I unfortunately know one too many who have.
My heart breaks for what I could have told you;
I am so sorry. I am so sorry those wooden doors you are opening may just lead you to join the ranks of hundreds of broken souls.
But my heart, it also beats joyfully at your bravery and your dreams.
Because you are a warrior like no other.