On Wednesday afternoon, while I was teaching my voice lessons at SUU, I found out that one of my students had taken her own life and was discovered the night before. Of course, this shocked and saddened me greatly and I have not been able to get it out of my mind since. I've heard of people committing suicide, but I have never had it happen to someone with whom I interacted on a regular basis.
My first thoughts were about how incredibly selfish it is to kill one's self. What about the roommate that discovers the body? What about parents, friends and loved ones? What about all of the many things that can be done for others instead of being so concerned about personal well-being?
But then I started to think about how that might not necessarily be the case. I have no idea what a horrible, dark place a person would have to be in to disregard the feelings of those that love them in such a way. I cannot imagine what kinds of emotions and experiences would lead to such an act of desperation. I can't fathom a single event that would make a person decide that the only solution is to end it all. And while I'm glad I don't know, I am upset to know that someone somewhat close to me did understand and feel these things. We just can't judge.
Which leads me to wonder if anything I did or didn't do as her teacher may have contributed. Logically, I know it probably didn't. I was her teacher, and my assignment was to teach her to sing well, and that's what I did. I try not to get involved in the personal lives of my students, as that is inappropriate. I know I did my job well with her...she had improved much in just the 2 months I'd been working with her. She seemed happy and excited about her progress. Although I was aware of some of her self image issues because I require my students to look in the mirror a lot, I didn't focus on them or feel it was my place to help her. I hope I made the right decision. I did care about her well-being and I hope she knew that. I thought she was a wonderful person and I truly enjoyed working with her.
And now every time I look at one of my own children I think of her poor parents. The questions they must be asking themselves. Or maybe they were more aware of things and it didn't come as a surprise. I just don't know. But I look at my baby and think of how my student was once a tiny, helpless baby. One that her parents loved and cared for. They had dreams for her, just as I do for all my children.
I want to do all I can to make sure my children are happy, well-adjusted people. To cultivate a self-worth within them that no outside influences can shatter. I want them to know that they are special...that they have so much to offer and that their small actions can go far to change the world. I wonder if I'm doing a very good job of it. I wonder how much I really can do and what I just have to leave up to them to do. I love them so much and really, my main goals in this life are to see them be happy and successful individuals. To help them to reach any goal they might have.
I apologize for the somewhat dreary post today...this experience has affected me quite a bit. I haven't yet been able to go about my life normally, not thinking of her and many of the details of the situation. Thanks for listening.