Rest in Peace Ashley Duncan, 17: No One Listened
Monday, Ashley Duncan didn’t go to school. Instead, she used the Internet Sunday and into Monday, her Twitter and Tumblr accounts, to tell anyone who was listening that she was in too much pain to handle alone. No one listened. Friends say they thought she was joking even as she posted a picture of a revolver that she’d “…finally found…”. Then, Monday, Ashley, 17, took that newfound revolver and ended her life.
She spoke of being in too much pain. She spoke bluntly: “Life ain’t worth all the pain.” She spoke of wanting to die “…every minute, second, hour, day, month, year…”. No one took that seriously. Now, sadly, she’s gone.
I’m involved in several anti-bullying, anti-suicide groups and communities online. It’s not unusual at all to read distressing messages from young people. In fact, I read them almost daily. And, in truth, there have been one or two that have raised the suspicion “I wonder if (s)he’s serious or just pulling my leg?” In a couple cases, my gut told me that I was just being played with. However, I understand that they could also be serious about it and in a very precarious situation. I take every call for help seriously until I find out otherwise. And, even if then, I’ll follow up a couple time just to make sure things are ok. A human life is too precious to do otherwise. Unfortunately, now Ashley’s friends will have a lifetime of second-guessing themselves, wondering if they could’ve been the one to save her life. The answer will never be known.
This won’t be the first time I’ve said this: listening goes such a long way. Not just hearing. I’m hearing a wonderful song being played on the overhead music player right now; however, I’m not listening to it. I’m focused on Ashley Duncan’s suicide right now. Listening requires attention. If every one of use can hone the fine art of listening, we can undoubtedly save lives. There’s almost always a cry for help before disaster strikes. We have to be able to pay attention, to listen, in order to hear it. If someone had listened to Ashley, she’d be alive today.
Sadly, that’s not the case. Sadly, her friends and family now must say goodbye. Rest in peace, Ashley Duncan. You have our attention now. Sorry it came too late.
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