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The Girl who Wants to Die

September 15, 2014

The Girl Who Wants to Die

September 10, 2014

“I am the girl who cannot love herself but I will love you with all that I have. I am the girl who cannot fix herself but I will make sure you’re never broken. I am the girl who wants to die but I will spend my life keeping you safe. I am the girl who harms herself but I would never do a thing to hurt you.” From Rachael Reynolds, Jan 29, 2014

My wife, Judy, says I’m obsessed with death and that’s all I share with the world. She looked at some Facebook posts from a few days ago, which had photos of my brother and dad that I posted weeks ago, but had some recent responses to them.

Yes, maybe I am obsessed with death and especially with suicide, especially after my daughter, Marlee, told Judy and I about the suicide death of a Facebook friend of hers today, which stopped I-696 for hours, after Rachael Reynolds jumped to her death from a freeway overpass near our home and was then run over by a car.

The Farmington Observer wrote: “A young Farmington Hills woman died early Tuesday in an apparent suicide on the I-696 overpass at Farmington Road, closing the freeway until 6:30 a.m., according to police. Police and emergency services personnel were called to the scene at about 3:15 a.m. Tuesday. The woman is believed to have jumped from the overpass and then was struck by a vehicle on eastbound I-696.

Maybe it’s because I know exactly where that bridge is, so close to our home, so close to Oakland Community College, where Rachael went to school.

Maybe because it’s my mother’s birthday and it’s the day before 9/11.

Maybe it’s because my Aunt Shirley killed herself over 35 years ago.

Maybe it’s because I have periodic episodes of depression.

Maybe it’s because Rachael’s birthday was one day before Kyle’s and that she’s 19 like Marlee.

Maybe it’s because my cousin’s daughter is also named Rachel (without the a) and has had her shares of troubles and pain.

Maybe it’s because Marlee starred in Butterfly Kisses three years ago, a movie about a teen suicide.

Maybe it’s because it has rained so much of the day and we’re getting pounded and flooded, the same way it rained on the day of my dad’s death, 30 days ago.

Maybe it’s because the first month anniversary of my father’s death is tomorrow.

Maybe it’s because this follows the suicide of Robin Williams and the accidental death of Joan Rivers.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been obsessed for weeks with the crazy psychopathic group, ISIL, who are killing Christians and everyone else they hate, and the President is finally announcing a strategy tonight on TV to go after these murderous bastards.

Maybe it’s because anyone can share their deepest thoughts, photos, and fears, on Facebook, Vine, Instagram, and Twitter, as Rachael had.

Maybe it’s because I feel so much for Rachael’s haunted parents who will be wondering why and what could they have done to prevent their daughter from taking her own life.

Maybe it’s because I have looked at Rachael’s Facebook and Twitter pages (@rachreynolds_) and am haunted by the desperation of a young girl, the same age as my daughter and her friends.

Rachael changed her photo a few days ago on Facebook and Twitter and it’s of a very cute, smiling girl. She started her Twitter feeds in early 2011 when she was 15. Her first Twitter photo was of a simple YouTube video of a dance song to “Pumped Up Kicks.” On January 23, 2012, she bragged how her team’s record 400M relay time at Farmington High School had still never been beaten. On April 8, 2012, she showed a photo of her dad playing Sudoko outside and wrote, “I love my dad.” On November 6, 2012, she wrote how thrilled she was, getting her new IPhone 5 “finally” in the mail.

Rachel had 8357 tweets and 752 followers and 1677 Facebook friends.

She went to school at Oakland Community College and was a sales rep at Nestle Toll House Café.

Her Twitter history is an eye-opening history of heartbreak, cynicism, sadness, disappointment, struggles, punctured by occasional laughter and joy.

On New Year’s Day, this year, she shared this:

Me right now pic.twitter.com/5UAZgxCyb4

 

On January 29th, she wrote these telling words:

Rachael Reynolds @rachreynolds_ · Jan 29

no better way to describe myself. pic.twitter.com/E6rQqv8z7H

 

The last two weeks of her life included this:

why do I even bother (from August 27th, a day before Rachael’s 19th birthday)

Rachael Reynolds @rachreynolds_ · Sep 1

This was the shortest summer ever.

I’m 420% done right now.

Rachael Reynolds @rachreynolds_ · Sep 3

I’m extremely unappreciated by nearly every person in my life.

Rachael Reynolds @rachreynolds_ · Sep 3

The fact that I’m already ridiculously stressed out about school is a huge indicator that something is wrong with the US school system.

Rachael Reynolds @rachreynolds_ · Sep 5

I’m going straight to hell for this.

This was her last Tweet from September 9th:

Rachael Reynolds @rachreynolds_ · Sep 9

The worst and the last day

Five words: Everything sad and horrible in one simple tweet, “the worst and the last day.”

Now, all we can do is look for clues and wonder why someone once again felt so much despair, so much heartache, and did what very few could ever imagine: Jump off a highway overpass bridge at 3am in the morning.

The Farmington Observer wrote that this was the fourth suicide for the city of Farmington Hills.

A year ago, City Councilman Ken Massey, with the help of other officials, created SAFE-Suicide Prevention for All.

The irony of this is that two days earlier, on September 8th, Massey read a “proclamation in recognition of September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The proclamation details the country’s 33,000 annual suicides with many more suicide attempts. In Oakland County alone, suicides have increased 21 percent since 2008.”

One night later, Rachael jumped off a bridge to her death.

Goodbye Rachael.

I never knew you but

I really feel like I do know you, somewhat,

Now that I have read your words and seen your photos.

What made you give up?

Now, we will never read another word from you again.

Your voice is gone and your family and friends and all of us “outsiders” are left to wonder why.

Suicide leaves so many gaping holes in so many broken souls, all left wondering what could they have done.

Haunted by the death of a young girl that I never really knew, I reread the words of Edward Hirsch, who wrote about the death of his son in his long poem, Gabriel.

His last line reads,

“Wild spirit beloved son

Where have you fled”

How can I not grieve and wonder…

Rachael, where have you fled?

How can I not now learn something from this?

We must pick up the phone now, before it’s too late and tell our children, or tell anyone we love, one loved soul at a time, one at a time, I love you. I love you.

Rachael

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2 Comments
  1. Jacqlyn Reynolds permalink

    I wanted to read the article about my sister. It was removed before I had the chance to see it. No one in my family asked to have it removed. Could you please email me a copy of “The Girl Who Wants to Die?” Thank you.

  2. Mindy harris permalink

    Beautifully written. I am feeling the exact same you are. Just spend an hour reading all her tweets.. why didn’t someone see her pain and intervene. . Hindsight is always 20 20 I guess but how much does a person need to say. I so sad for her and her family. I am haunted by this and her words. What drive her to such an awful ending and did she fully realize the permanent. Ugh.i did see some drug references maybe that played a part in her depression, she needed help. I so sad for her she was so young and beautiful

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