As I write this, it is a federal holiday in the United States. The day is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or MLK day on social media. He is remembered by many of seeking to unite people during a time of racial prejudice in the US. While many people think this day falls on his Birthday, it is done on a Monday so that people can have a 3 day weekend. While many seek to remember his legacy and what he tried to accomplish, I can’t help but go back to when I was in 6th grade when this day comes. Because of what happened at that time, this is not a celebratory day for me.
I was sick, getting over a case of the flu. MLK day was on a Monday, as usual, and my parents kept me out of school on Tuesday to be on the safe side. That Tuesday night, my parents get a phone call that grief counselors would be at the school for the rest of the week if I needed to talk to one. We had no clue what was going on. I felt fine. To my knowledge, I didn’t need to talk to an counselors. When I got school the next day, I found out what happened. The teacher in the classroom next door to mine, our in school rivals due to out teachers being best friends and testosterone kicking in, had died. But why did she die? How did she die? Sadly, she had committed suicide.
The news that she had committed suicide made her students feel like they were such bad children that she couldn’t take living anymore. But this was not the case. Her grieving daughter had to tell them what happened, as well as my teacher, who was her best friend in the school. There was a secret that none of us knew.
The teachers was sick, she had cancer. Doctors told her that there was really nothing they could do for her. This would be her last year teaching because she would need to get ready to die. So she decided not to let cancer take her life. She had been influenced by Martin Luther King Jr. more than anyone else in life. As a result, she decided that she wanted to die on the day that honored him. So on MLK day of that year, she took her life. While she died with her dignity, knowing that cancer did not dictate to her when she would die, she left behind a river of tears from her students, other students and fellow teachers alike. She was a loving woman, and I don’t know that she would have made the choice she made had she known what it would have done to the emotions of so many people. So out of respect to them, I think about them on this day. This is no day of celebration.
If I had to say one thing, about this, it would be don’t give up hope. Don’t let others put an expatriation date on you life. I’ve known too many people who were about to die, but are still alive years later. You honestly just never know. If you feel down and that you just want life to end, please don’t. Talk to someone, anyone, talk to me. And if you have a friend who you think is depressed, talk to them. Be a listening ear and a shoulder for them to cry on. Your act of kindness could just be what is needed to save their life. All of you reading this are loved and are special. Don’t forget to let others know that you love and appreciate them as well. Hope and love are the most powerful medicines of all. So please, spread this medicine to as many as possible, to cure some of the sadness that hurts them. You never know how much you words and kind deeds can mean to others.