One Year After Amanda’s Death

I’m struggling to stay in this world, because everything just touches me so deeply. I’m not doing this for attention. I’m doing this to be an inspiration and to show that I can be strong. ~ Amanda Todd

Rehtaeh's sister Teaghan has purple on today to remember Amanda Todd.
Rehtaeh’s sister Teaghan wears purple to remember Amanda Todd
It’s hard to believe a year ago today Amanda Todd’s precious life ended. Her mom, Carol, has written what I know would have been a very difficult letter about her feelings and how hard this past year has been: One Year After Amanda’s Death, Light Up Purple for Mental Health. Carol writes, “I never thought a whole year would come and go so quickly. Each and every month for the past 11, has been one full of the emotional ups and downs and even sideways for that matter. There is no way to predict which way the wind or my emotions will be blowing.

Today, October 10th, is also World Mental Health Day. “This also happens to be the same date that I lost the ability to laugh and cry with my daughter in real time“, states Carol, “From here on in, I will work to bring awareness to mental health issues on this date. I invite all those who want to help do this each year by Lighting Up Purple for World Mental Health Day.

Carol also asks some important questions as we look ahead and wonder about “what was happening in the ‘big picture’ of our nation. Or per province. Or even per city.” There are many mixed messages about “what can be done and what is being done…” Why one city can pass a by-law, yet another one can’t? Why one has the support of the police and another has the police reacting with complete indifference?

There remains a lot to be done but the message is out there. Doing nothing can kill. Stand up for those unable to stand up for themselves. Be a hero. Teach respect. Talk. Listen. Become involved.

When I spoke last week in Toronto a mother stood up and said that after Rehtaeh died she spoke to her son about bullying. Later her son found out someone was bullying a girl at their school and he went to the principal to report it.

Be her son.

I read this morning about Tad Milmine. Tad is an RCMP officer and he has been speaking to kids across Canada about bullying and he speaks through the spirits of Rehtaeh, Ontario’s Jamie Hubley, and British Columbia’s Amanda Todd — all teen suicide victims.

Milmine said he heard Todd’s, Hubley’s and Parsons’s cries for help and decided to offer young people a safe, compassionate and non-judgmental place, creating his website that promises to respond quickly to every youth message.

“I could easily just make a video and send it out to every school, but that defeats the entire purpose of what I’m trying to do,” he said. “I’m trying to be the person that I didn’t have in school. The person to look up to, to talk to — to be there.”

Right on Tad!