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kiota is gone

Fifteen days before her 19th birthday, one of my students --- whom I had been helping with academic and creative work --- committed suicide. It happened very far from UVM, at her college on the other side of the country. They found her yesterday.

She had been born in New Jersey and had grown up in Israel from the age of three, near the West Bank, and returned to the USA last Fall to start college here.

She was doing some brilliant writing, far beyond what I've ever seen from a first-year student, and was being praised for it by her faculty. But she was also carrying a massive amount of pyschological pain, which was growing and had been for the past ten years at least. This finally grew great enough to kill all her hope of ever healing it in this life.

Along the way, many people tried to intervene to help her, including me: but the help proved to be temporary and the damage was unstoppable.

Only a handful of her LJ friends ever got to meet her in real life. I was one of them. That is as unforgettable as her death is. Her light will be remembered much much longer.


Apr. 16th, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's one of those unusual things where we connected solidly over the net for three years before we actually met. It was unusual since I hardly had one single tiny bit of the psych problems she was going through and failing to recover from, our life histories were completely different although we had some of the same things in common: independence, desire to counsel others, feminism, and delight in debating and exploring new ideas.

I think you don't need to have any doubt at all about what you meant to her, and what others did, because right up until the last hours she was casting a wide net for new persons to meet whom she could perhaps help, and perhaps would come to love her unconditionally.

I think in helping others she was healing herself, little by little.

The impact of what she felt as her roommates ignoring her and of some friends dropping away from her was absolutely tearing her up --- in this tiny American college tucked into the woods --- and she wrote about her anguish so very very well. Every word is absolutely authentic. I've just been discussing with another friend what it would mean socially to start college one-half a world away from friends, where you know absolutely nothing of the American high school experience.

I think she had long ago decided on the point where the pain of isolation would be too much to bear, I think she said "I would just keep on hurting if I don't do it now"...and that's the point she reached. If I had been there at the time --- instead of five miles up in a jet flying back East in the middle of the night --- I'm sure she would have masked her inner despair, not let me see it, because she knew how much pain it would cause me.

She is absolutely not replaceable, ever ---- and her unique light will go on living in our hearts as long as we keep her close.


kiota too late for the stars
Moonfire Marion Bridge / Brad

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