Two More Suicides: An Open Letter to My Daughters

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Adrienne’s College Graduation Day from Duke University, Mother’s Day 2014
My girls,

I love you so much. As you both know, there were two separate suicides this past weekend involving Duke University students. I cannot begin to understand why this keeps happening. I do not know these kids. Agee, I know you knew one of them and I am very sorry for your loss. I know that whatever interaction you had with her was full of happy and positive thoughts and feelings because I know that is the kind of person you are. You are happy all the time and you spread joy wherever you go. Riri, college life is so new to you. You won’t be immune to these terrible stories. Unfortunately, it is probably a given that this same tragedy will affect your campus while you are there.
I want to remind you of a couple of important things.

The first is a given:  nothing is that terrible.  Everything in this life passes, both good and bad.  Some days you will be floating on clouds because you are having the best day ever, and some days you will be wishing you could be anywhere else than where you are at that moment.  These are normal human emotions.
  It is okay, and even part of God’s plan, to experience joy and pain in this life. 
If we never experienced pain, we would never understand happiness, and vice-versa.  So please remember that pain passes.  It goes away.  Time really does heal all wounds.  You have parents and grandparents and aunts, uncles, and cousins that love you more than words can express.  Any one of us would do anything at any time to help you or your  friends.
Agee, you successfully attended college and now you have a great job.  Do you remember what I told you while you were in school?  I am going to write it down so you remember because maybe one day you will share this with your kids.  Riri, I am going to write it down so you can look back and read this whenever you need a reminder.  Maybe you can pass it along to your college friends to read, too.  Here goes:
Ever since I can remember, you worked your tail off at school.  From your first day of preschool to your last day of high school, every assignment you were ever given was completed to perfection.  This need for straight A’s was intrinsic.  As your mom, I did not stand over you and beat it into your brain that your individual worth was in any way connected to the grades your received in school.  You were just wired this way.  It came naturally to you to always do your very best.  Because of this trait, you now attend the very best college that is the perfect fit for you.  So my advice is this:  RELAX. 
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Erica’s Senior Prom, April 2014
That’s it.  Just one word.  RELAX.  You are IN.  You worked yourself to exhaustion to be able to be where you are right now.  You did it.  You were accepted.  You are there, living in the dorm, eating in the cafeteria, climbing the steps to the library of that great institution that you climbed as a sixth-grader when your possible attendance there was just a small glimmer of hope in your mind.  You don’t need to get all A’s anymore.  It’s okay if you don’t.  It is not the end of the world, and it certainly should never be what you consider to be the end of your life.  You are not your grades, so just relax, soak it all in, and have the time of your life.  Never again will you get three squares a day, be able to plan a schedule that fits your personal routine, and have the freedom to pretty much do what you want to do.  Repeat after me:  Enjoy every minuteRelax.  You are in.  Nothing should ever get so bad that you or anyone you know feels the need to end it all.
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A sixth-grade Erica in the summer of 2007 when it was just a dream

Love, Mommy
(Just don’t get arrested.  If you do, call your attorney, cousin Pete.)

2 thoughts on “Two More Suicides: An Open Letter to My Daughters

  1. Margie

    In der Tat, man fühlt sich für einen kurzen Moment unglaublich ungbaullich. Beim Schnörkeln ist mir ansonsten gerade der Stift weggeflogen. Ich denke, ich bin auf einem guten Weg.

  2. driving into canada

    and figure out the cooking day, freezing & serving plan. So this month, I picked meals out of The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook, for my cooking days. Here are the 10 meals I chose to prepare this month {I make three of each


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