8 Jan

I had a plan for my day.

I woke up and thought, these are the things I’m going to do today. And I looked with pleasure upon those things, and even eager anticipation. It was Monday after all. The start of a new week. The start of easing myself into a little bit of WWC work again (15 minutes a day, just to read email…but still SOMETHING). I would then lose myself in Pride and Prejudice. And work on that sweater I keep putting off. Just a little. Not overdoing it.

But days don’t always go as planned. Mine certainly didn’t.

It started with hysteria, source my daughter. Her best friend had committed suicide.

So began a day of holding and comforting and praying and counseling. Crises mode, everything else forgotten. Everyone pulling together to help and while not provide answers (who can?) but to at least provide understanding and compassion.

Only…well it turned out to be a hoax. No one died. It was all…well that’s hard to say. Maybe a test to see who cared. Or maybe just pain and confusion and wanting to disappear that badly that she erased herself in such a disturbing manner as a cry for help. These things we don’t know. These are things for counselors to figure out. Professionals.

So relief came with..well..anger on my part. I will admit to it. After all my daughter was HURT by this action. Those tears, that grief was heartfelt. The guilt she felt over not being in the right place to say the right thing – to SAVE her friend was genuine. And painful.

Later came pity. Because people who are happy people – dare I even say well-adjusted people – don’t make this kind of statement. I feel for her. I am praying for her. And I hope she can find help and answers and everything she needs.

What does it say about us though? Because when I posted this news on Facebook I wasn’t seeing so much relief as anger – a lot of people were praying and upset and in fact THEIR day got derailed by this news. Good people. Friends and friends of friends and even strangers who stopped a moment and breathed a prayer and held their own daughters and sons a little closer.

We don’t react to derailment well. We like our days, for the most part, to be orderly. Not necessarily regimented with a routine figured down to the minute and carefully color-coded in a day planner (why are you looking at me like that? Ok FINE I have mine color coded. Online. And backed up on every electronic device I own) but we do have certain expectations for the day. Most of us have at least a vague idea what we’ll be doing tomorrow and even the day after that.

But it goes beyond that. Derailment is…painful. Because it’s a little reminder that our lives aren’t entirely in our control to begin with. That a moment can come that changes everything. For my daughter that moment came this morning when she read the horrible news. For me it came not long after. For my friends…when I posted it on FB.

We’re all so fragile when it comes down to it. Frightened of losing the things that matter most to us. Especially in such violent unexpected ways. At the same time, those fragile moments, also give rise to our greatest strengths. Like the moment (before my daughter knew her friend was actually ok) where my daughter lifted her chin and let me know that she was fine, that she was stronger than this, that she would make something good come out of today’s events.

We all bear such an awesome responsibility to each other, don’t we? We derail each other’s days by posting on social media with all the confidence and trust that sometimes it’s ok to do just that. I think sometimes we don’t realize just what an amazing and wonderful thing it is that in an instant we can be surrounded by an outpouring of global support when our day goes badly.

But was also can’t abuse that trust. I feel badly that I got so many people upset by this story. Before I deleted the original post there were 137 separate responses of heartbroken prayers and hugs from people whose days derailed just enough to give room to our own derailment. I regret this horribly. I can only imagine the regret that must come from creating this kind of derailment deliberately. How many lives a note along the lines of “xxx committed suicide last night” impacts.

And oh yes that note impacts lives. Never never think that you’re so alone that such a message would not devastate and untold number of people around you. And that those ripples won’t keep traveling outwards and hurting people that you’ve never in your life met or even heard of.

So perhaps this is a reminder to speak wisely. And a thankfulness that in a world filled with so much cynicism that people still love freely. And are there for us when our day derails in the most unexpected and awful ways.

And most of all, reminds us that we’re really not alone in this after all.

And please…if you’re so sad that you’re thinking about ending your life, there IS help. Please please please talk to someone – a parent, a teacher, a pastor…another adult that you trust. Don’t keep these kinds of feelings to yourself.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

[as a side note, the picture I’m using today is from a train derailment in Momence, IL back in 1999. I lived near Momence when this happened, only one week after the tragic Amtrak Crash only 7 miles from THIS derailment. What the picture doesn’t show is the the engine on the second train (two trains collided) actually went airborne, left the tracks, and landed in an empty lot right next to a house. It was an amazing sight, that big engine plowed into the dirt like that, only a hundred or so feet from a child’s swingset just on the other side of a picket fence. Even more amazing – no one was killed. The engineer of that train saw he was going to hit and leaped out of the cab before impact, saving his life.]


4 Responses to “Derailment”

  1. Krysti January 8, 2013 at 6:28 am #

    I missed the original note, Kristine, for which I’m not precisely sorry. I’m praying for all of you as you process what happened and live through and grow past the aftermath. ((((HUGS))))

  2. Normandie January 8, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    I’m with Krysti, very glad I didn’t read the original, but sorry that you and your daughter and all the others involved had to go through such heartache–because it was real heartache even though it was based on a lie.

    Thank you for a thoughtful post. I’m so glad that you began blogging, K!

  3. Obi Kemnebi January 9, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    I did read the original post, and I had an empathetic response I simply couldn’t bring myself to type. I got a phone call early in the morning last summer… I’m still working on getting past that. It’s good to have a reminder that there’s still love and joy and family and friends in the world, even when the world seems to stop turning. A very heartfelt and honest post. Also glad you began blogging, Kat!


  1. A is for…Attitude | Life at Rest - April 1, 2013

    […] where did things go wrong? With the derailment (oh there is THAT WORD again) or in my reaction to it […]

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