It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting to read when I opened the email from one of my former English students:
Hey, I know this is kind of out of the blue, but I just started songwriting. One of the songs I wrote is about suicide. I hope to show people who experience suicidal thoughts that there are people who love them, that suicide doesn’t get back at people who’ve hurt them, that it hurts the people they’re closest to. If it's ok with you, I would like to dedicate it to Jenna. I've included the lyrics for you to read if you don't think it would be too painful. If it is, I completely understand. I'm so sorry to throw this at you.
I can’t think of anything more worth sharing for National Suicide Prevention Month. The story within Olivia’s beautiful song is so powerful, so heart-wrenching, so true. I urge you to take four minutes to listen to it. If only we could remember these words when depression and lying suicidal thoughts arise, I believe far fewer lives would end before their time.
by Olivia Henn
Several years ago I attended a funeral which shouldn't have had to take place—at least not for a very long time.
She was a young teenager—beautiful, full of life, and a joy to everyone around her. Unfortunately, she was the victim of some bullying at her school, and somewhere along the way she lost hope.
Sadly, I never had the opportunity to know her. Watching her pictures scroll across the screen and hearing countless testimonies from all the people who loved her, I could only cry and imagine the pain her family was going through. I was much younger then and couldn’t understand why anyone who had touched the lives of so many would ever take their own life.
Time passed. During February of last year, I read Beth Saadati’s blog post “3 (or 13) Reasons Why Not: From One Left to Survive a Non-Fictionalized Suicide” in response to the book and Netflix series Thirteen Reasons Why. This inspired me to write my first song.