56: A Mother When I Needed One

56: A Mother When I Needed One

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Teachers

A Mother When I Needed One

You cannot save people. You can only love them.

~Anaïs Nin

It was November 7, 2014, my eighth grade year. My teacher had asked me to come in after school. I didn’t know why. I certainly didn’t think she knew about my suicide plans.

I had been planning to kill myself on November 11th for months. I remember looking at the calendar and choosing the date. It was shortly after my mother’s birthday, but before the holidays. It was when it would all stop — all of the pain, all of life.

Normally, teachers called me in after school to ask if they could keep my papers, but not about this. Most teachers just saw my good grades, and I suppose to most of them that meant I must be okay.

However, that day, I stayed after school with my teacher for four hours, revealing everything that had led up to this point in my life: the divorce, the abuse, and the escape.

I watched my strong, brave teacher cry as she tried so hard to crack my tough shell. She wouldn’t leave me until I was safe, and because of that, I owe her my life.

Throughout the rest of the school year, we met once a week. During a rocky period in my life, she was there for me when no one else was, and that’s all I needed: someone who would listen, someone who would care, someone who would love me.

She was the best counselor anyone could ever ask for, the best friend I never had, and the best mother when I didn’t have one.

The end of the year came, and I constructed a quote with my newly gained wisdom from her. With graphite handy, I sketched the words into unbreakable tree branches amongst blooming flower buds.

Every now and again, I still go to visit her, and there, high on her wall, it hangs in a black photo frame: “Beautiful is the one who’s constant in making others’ lives beautiful.”

And she is beautiful.

~Brie Dalliant, age 16

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