April 4th 2016 marks 3 yrs

The last week of March feels like a wet heavy blanket edging its way from my feet to my chins and upwards covering me inch by inch. Each day unfolds holding the dark reminder that April is arriving. Isn’t this a time of new beginnings? Isn’t this a time to come out of our winter slumber to embrace the longer days and feel the warmth of the sun on our face? Shouldn’t Spring arrive with a sense of freshness? Well, now it is April! She has arrived and with it comes the pain. It starts as irritation and a sense of feeling uncomfortable in my own skin -a sense of not knowing what to do or where to find comfort.
Someone recently asked me “Do you think your depressed?” Depressed? Hmmmmm, I have felt this way of being so long now that I don’t know what it’s called. Another question arrives? What is it you are struggling with the most? Well, if it comes right down to it I struggle with missing my child the most. I struggle with the loss of my girl in my life. I feel dense and full of pain both physically and emotionally and as April 1st arrived my hips and legs begin to ache more and more. My body feels this loss too. I struggle to lift my legs during my yoga practice. The denseness is here!
So I sit and reflect on a life lost- my daughter’s life. I sit and cry and remember all the years and what Rehtaeh meant to me and continues to represent in my life. I reflect on how Rehtaeh changed my life in so many ways for the better. I reflect on our turmoil and our struggles in our relationship after her assault. I allow it all to rise up and cover me because today it’s been 3yrs since I last saw Rehtaeh and hugged her.
Actually, it was almost this time of day as she left the house to deliver resumes. We sent texts throughout the day and into the evening April 4th 2013.
Many people say that suicide is an act of hopelessness but in Rehtaeh’s situation it was an impulsive act in a moment of anger and rage. Yes, she often felt hopeless and I still feel gratitude that she was able to express her feelings to me but that night (this night 3years ago) it was rage. She had an argument that left her feeling “not validated” and feeling “not validated” triggered her because she had already been fighting to be “believed” for so so long. She acted in the moment that I truly believe she regretted immediately.
You see suicide is not a selfish act, it’s an act of desperation , hopelessness and sometimes even anger and frustration. By the time someone actually acts on suicidal thoughts they have already talked themselves out of it multiple times and kept on trying. Why? Because they know they have loved ones who will miss them. They want to live their life – just not one full of pain and suffering. They do try and try and that is what is missing in some of the dialogue when we say “That’s such a selfish act”.
In my reflection today please know that I also see strength, resilience, love and honour. I see/feel the sadness each and every day and even more so at this time of year but believe me I see the flower’s budding. I watch the birds scattering to get their homes ready for their babies. I listen to the call of my yoga mat asking me to come and sit awhile. I will answer the call of the Ocean today. I see the lightness and gratitude within when I finish giving presentations about Rehtaeh’s life –always including who she was before any of this trauma happened to her in November 2011.I will follow the path of peace and hope to one day find “fun” again. I will honour my pain today and over the coming days but I will honour my strength too. We must honour both

2 thoughts on “April 4th 2016 marks 3 yrs

  1. Hi there

    I want to thank you for sharing your daughter’s horrific story. I am a teacher at Merivale High school in Ottawa and this week, we have been sharing your documentary with our students. I’ve never heard groups of teens so quiet, and so moved. It is such an important message that you and her father are sharing, and I wanted you to know that we are listening, and you are touching many people with Rehtaeh’s story.

    1. Thanks for letting me know that the documentary is being shown in High Schools there. I often speak in schools and its nice to know that the documentary is also spreading awareness. 🙂 Leah

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