Peering out over the highway that afternoon watching the cars fly by under me, at that moment I realized I was at a cross roads. I had two options: jump and end it all, or push through. I thought of how disconnected I felt to my life, about the things that happened to me and the hopelessness I felt about the future. I had suffered silently in this dark space for so long now. On the outside I was full of energy; a performer, an artist. On the inside I was lifeless. I just didn’t want to go on like that. I was too tired.
I thought of my mom. I thought about my little sister. I thought about the legion of friends that turned to me to help them off of their ledge. What kind of hypocrite would I be if I turned around and quit after talking countless others through their darkest times?
I thought about the teachings of my elders. I didn’t know my culture that well, but I did know that suicide was not our way.
Then I felt sad that I didn’t really know ‘our way’ at all. But I remembered this elder back at the Friendship Centre who told me about his kids and the trouble they went through and how their suicide devastated the family.
I had no idea back then when I was eight that I would be getting a lesson that would save my life seven years later. Elders are so wise that way. Sometimes when they talk to you, their stories seem to make no sense, like, why was he telling me about his sorrow for losing his son? What does that have to do with me now?
At that moment on the bridge I started to wonder how he knew I would need to hear that story someday. He’d passed a few years back and as I sat there I felt his presence wash over me like a warm breeze. I don’t want to hurt my family. I don’t want to let him down, so I got down and reached out for help.
Part of getting well for me now is volunteering with our elders. They help keep me in balance. I also see a counsellor and have to take medication for the time being. That elder I met years ago saved my life and showed me how important a role elders play in my life. That’s why I give back to them. Giving back is my higher purpose, I know this now, and am so grateful that I am here to do it.
You can talk to a Kids Help Phone counsellor anonymously 24/7: 1-800-668-6868