Thursday, 9 June 2011

After Kohellet

When I was 16, a friend of mine told me she was so depressed she wanted to end her life.

So I wrote her a letter describing all the wonderful things in the world – a baby, a kitten, chocolate, the colour of the ocean and other 16 year old girl things.

I spent ages on the letter and gave it to her with much sincerity.  But I don’t think it made much difference.  As things turned out, although my friend was very depressed, she didn’t kill herself. 

She went to hospital, and when she came out she went to university, graduated, got married, had children, made friends, made new friends, changed careers, changed cities and has had a life richer than either of us could have imagined.

Not everyone is so lucky.

This week, in our community, a 14 year old girl took her own life.

Mothers around me are hugging our children tighter and we’ve stopped caring about homework or exams or even tattoos anymore.

And I realise I should have written a different letter to my friend forty years ago.

I should have said this:

Sometimes you’ll be hurt and sometimes you’ll heal.
Sometimes you’ll be strong and sometimes you’ll be broken.
Sometimes there’ll be abundance and sometimes you’ll have nothing.
Sometimes you’ll laugh and sometimes you’ll cry.
Sometimes you’ll dance and sometimes you won’t be able to.
Sometimes you’ll get the guy and sometimes he’ll break your heart.
Sometimes you’ll find what you need and sometimes you’ll be lost.
Sometimes you’ll be at peace with yourself and sometimes it’ll be war.
Sometimes you’ll love him and sometimes you’ll hate him.
Sometimes there’ll be pain and sometimes there’ll be pleasure.
Sometimes you’ll feel bliss and sometimes you’ll feel bleak.

Nothing is forever except love.  And although you don’t always see it, you are connected in all directions.  You are so loved.  And life gets hard, yes it does, and you feel lost at times, oh yes you do, but it passes. And waves come and they go.  And time passes.
And life can surprise you. 
Truly out of the blue surprise you in ways you couldn’t possibly imagine.
So hang on. A day or a decade.
Let life and let love.


  1. I hugged my children, and wept. Reading this, I wept again.

  2. Janine, this is inspiring. Thank you. Arik

  3. So sad that a young person decided not to give life a chance to be more than it was for her, in that moment.
    Your words were profound and moving.

  4. This is beautiful. May I have permission to quote it or make a poster of it for the young people I work with?

  5. this really touched parts of me that I had forgotten about. thank you.

  6. linda and david were moved beyond words

  7. I soooo wished I have the wisdom to say all those to my 21 years old daughter before she killed herself, last year!!