Monday, January 07, 2008


Every once in awhile I feel drawn to purge my old notebooks and diaries. A couple of years ago, I threw out my diary from High School. Today, I was looking at my tattered collection of bad poems and adolescent declarations of love from 9th grade with intention of tossing it. My stuff was positively embarrassing.

But in the midst of the schlocky poems and gushing love letters, I found a type written letter to the parents of a friend:

Oct. 9, 1979

Dear Mr. and Mrs. F_____,

I am a friend and somewhat of a confident of your son G. He seems to feel that your punishments are unfair and he is afraid to talk to you about it.

I realize that this is not my business, but I think that G is really depressed. He constantly mopes about in class and feels that everyone is out to get him, which, needless to say, is totally untrue. I think you should have a talk with him about his feelings.

I know G loves you both very much, but I believe he feels a complete communication block. If you could learn to accept him as he is, rather than ask him to be something he isn't, I am sure you would both be better off.

I left the letter unsigned. Apparently I never sent it. It is such a strange artifact of my life as a prep school kid.

My friend G killed himself 4 years ago and though I am certain that nothing I could have done would have ever changed that, it seems that even as a 9th grader, I could see that something was wrong.

Beloved God,

I pray that my friend G is at peace. I pray, too, for his parents, who even now must be filled with grief. And today I pray for all who suffer from mental illness and depression. Give them strength to seek help, Lord. And be with them in their pain.


Mary Beth said...

Oh, my heavens.

I know you were a beacon in his life. Thanks be to God for that.

Rachel said...

I pray that that was true, Mary Beth.

It was something of a shock to find the letter because I have absolutely no recollection of having written it... or what, in particular, prompted me to do so.

I suspect it might have come on the heals of a weekend retreat we all went on. I still have photos of that weekend. My parents chaperoned it, along with our science teacher. We went to a tiny school. There were about 10 of us in the class.