After watching the second to last episode of Doctor Who on Netflix, Luke just sort of blurted it out on his way to bed.
“I think I know why [TheCounselor] wants an emergency meeting with you. I think about killing myself.”
Then Luke just walked down the hallway to his room as though I’d forget what he said just after the words escaped his mouth. Like it wasn’t important to him. Like he thought I might yell at him or have some explosive reaction…
Earlier on Friday, Jonathan, BioMom, and I received an urgent call from the counselor’s office requesting a meeting ASAP. We made plans for 2PM Monday having no idea what could possibly be so urgent.
Suicidal thoughts are what was so urgent…
I followed Luke to his room and closed the door so we could talk without Oliver bursting onto the scene with loud exclamations of his latest video game revelations. He thinks about killing himself, but doesn’t have a plan. He feels worthless, stupid, and useless.
“Do you know that I love you? That you are worth more to me than the things you do for me or than the money I spend on you? I look forward to your accomplishments and to seeing you do amazing things in your life. You’re my kid and, if you killed yourself, I would be so sad. I’d cry every day from missing you so much.” Tears rolled down my cheeks. “I know how it feels to want to kill yourself and I feel sad that you feel that way too. I wanted to die when I was a kid because things were so awful at my house. My mother always said mean things about me and hit me and my dad just didn’t care. It was a very sad time. I didn’t feel like anyone cared about me at all. The good thing is that those feelings passed. Now I have lots of people in my life who love and care about me like you.”
Luke curled up in a pile of stuffed animals on top of his toy box as he listened.
“If you were me and I told you that I wanted to kill myself, what would you say to me to help me?”, I asked.
“I’d talk to you.”, Luke replied.
“But what would you really SAY? What words would you use?”
“…I’d say the same thing you’re saying to me right now.”
“That’s good. I just want to make sure I’m saying things the right way to help you. I love you.”
Luke asked me not to tell Jonathan and we chatted about mundane things for a while before we went to bed. I felt like Luke believed me, but there’s no way to know for sure. There is no reportable metric to gage how well your suicidal, 12yr old, step-son understands how much you love him or how dearly he would be missed. You just make the best estimate you can based on facial expressions and his acknowledgements and hope a little of what you said sticks.