The Huffington Post reported yesterday the suicide of Amanda Todd of Coquitlam, BC on Wednesday, October 12, 2012.
Where do I start? Where does anyone start?
I wish I had known you, but if the outpouring of grief across North America is any indication, so do millions of other people. Through our shock and pain, we wish you were still here with your family, planning for the rest of high school, maybe even college.
There are probably countless Youtube videos going up about you… tweets… FB statuses… and personal blog posts just like mine… about how your life — beautiful and precious — needed to be guarded and loved, but because evil spilled through, the darkness became too much. No, I am not talking about your parents (for I know they loved you), or your therapist you shared your personal thoughts with, or even God.
I am talking about the kind of love friends learn to grow and share with one another — that special and specific kind of love we all need when shit hits the fan, and we feel we have nowhere else to turn. What you endured was not love, and you knew that the whole time. You cried out for help, and perhaps help did come. Yet with the help came more grief from 'friends' online. I can't imagine the weight of it all on your small shoulders.
People are making comments, Amanda — who's to blame? What now? How do we stop bullying? I don't really want to use your life and death as a cautionary tale for others right now, hun. You're too important and the loss of you is too great.
What I do want to say is… if I knew you… I'd hope we could chill and do our nails. Maybe we could catch an indie flick and chat about it over chai lattes at a sweet coffee house afterwards. Maybe we could talk about life, love, friends, God and all things that matter when you're 15 years old. Maybe we could take silly pictures in a park and play on the swings.
I also want you to know that even thought I have never met you, I know many girls like you who are being pressured… blackmailed…exploited…hated…(myself having gone through so many of these same things at one time or another)… and it is terrifying. It is painful. It is the real deal, but it shouldn't have to be. Saying I'm sorry sounds so hollow, but I am… I.am.sorry.
I am sorry you are no longer here so we could learn from your voice and courage.
I am sorry people who should have been your friends turned on you and wreaked havoc.
I am sorry that you are not the only one.
Some of us are still here… we have tried to die, but we still live… and we want to be those kinds of friends that do nails together, sip chai lattes, and talk about what's important. For what it's worth, know that we will be the kind of friends, mentors, sisters and lovers that God designed us to be — no agenda attached to love. We aren't perfect, but that's okay. I don't think you ever wanted "the perfect friend", but just… a friend.
I am sorry I never knew you, Amanda. But for those still here whom I do know… I will love harder, listen more, laugh at jokes (the funny kind; not the demeaning kind), cry at heartbreak, bake cookies when boyfriends don't last, and witness your prayers as you seek God wherever God may be found.
We cannot get you back, Amanda; but we can choose peace, and by choosing peace we are able to see better all of the other Amanadas out there crying for their own sense of peace and acceptance.
May you dwell in the house of the Lord forever.