The “what if ” syndrome

“What if” is often pondered after a situation didn’t go as we desired or expected. Even though we know that such thoughts can not change the past, it still causes us to stop and ponder the possibilities. I think that valuable insight and wisdom can still be obtained, not to change the past, but more to influence the future. As I sit here pondering the “what if’s” of Lily’s life, I realize that she is gone and my ability to help her has passed. I feel the need to take this hard life lesson and do what I can to stop this from happening to any one else’s family. There were subtle signs over the past few months that Lily was in dire need of help, easily missed with the everyday struggles of life. I will try to find as many of the signs as I can and blog these for other parents, to hopefully recognize in time to save their children from a similar fate. There are two stories to be told here, one of bullying, the other about suicide. These will be addressed in future blogs along with resource materials to help other parents and children in need.

It seems that the best place to start is with what we thought we were doing right:

  • Lily’s internet and phone contacts were closely monitored.
  • We stayed in communication with her school and guidance counselor.
  • We insisted on knowing who her friends were and got their parents phone numbers.
  • We didn’t allow her to go anywhere with friends, unless there was going to be supervision.

As we struggled to understand why Lily took her own life, we started to dissect her digital world. What we found was shocking to say the least. There was a whole different universe of digital media, that showed how dark and miserable Lily had become. The “what if’s”  fly through my mind at lightning speed, demanding answers to questions never asked.

  1. What if we had talked with her friends more and asked the right questions.
  2. What if we had dug deeper into her online life.
  3. What if we had paid closer attention to her body language.
  4. What if her friends had told us what Lily was telling them about wanting to die.
  5. What if…..

As you can see, the “what if’s” can pile up pretty quick and they won’t change a thing for Lily at this point. We have first hand knowledge of the meaning of “hindsight is 20/20”. What we know now is that Lily was bullied at school and online. We don’t know how long this abuse went on, or by how many people,but what we do know is that the actions of a few people helped to destroyed a beautiful, funny, witty, caring young lady.

In the future Project LIRA will address many topics including bullying, suicide, self harm, and many more,  that our children face on a daily basis. We look forward to the day when parents, teachers, classmates, pastors, police, doctors, come together to form a safety net.

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