Last night I had some shocking news.
I received a message on Facebook from a friend I taught with years ago in another town letting me know that a little girl I taught in Year 2 in 2001 had died.
I remembered her well. I also taught her big sister two years earlier. I clearly remembered their mother's beautiful face. And was instantly shattered thinking about how they must be feeling. I cannot even begin to imagine how painful it must be.
I moved away from that school at the end of that year.
So I haven't seen nor heard or even thought about her for nine years.
But I do remember that she was a sweet little girl.
I remember her beautiful eyes looking up at me from her shyly dipped face.
She was very quiet.
She was reserved.
She was a little lacking in confidence, unlike her sister.
Her sister acted like her guardian, always looking out for her, taking care of her.
How must she be feeling today?
For all the years I taught I remember looking at the sea of little faces and wondering what they may become when they grow up.
But I do not recall ever looking at that sea of faces and wondering...
which of you will contract a terminal illness...
which of you will be fatally injured in an accident...
which of you will overdose on drugs...
which of you will hang yourself at a party?
Which is what this beautiful young girl did.
If my Maths is correct, she must have been about 16 years old.
People lose loved ones all the time.
But suicide must be twice as hard to deal with for family and friends because of the (I don't want to say stigma because that has a sense of judgement that I don't want to attach to this issue) deliberate nature of losing someone so close, so treasured, so precious.
The "what ifs" and "if onlys" must be haunting.
I pray that her loved ones find some comfort somewhere, somehow because I imagine that they won't be feeling a sense of peace any time soon, if ever.
It makes me look at my own children and hope and pray that a tragedy of that magnitude never touches us, but you can never be sure.
I am sure that I will be giving them extra cuddles today, for today I am counting my blessings.
My heart goes out to the family and friends of the beautiful young girl who is gone too soon.