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12-Year-Old Girl Dies by Suicide After Being Relentlessly Bullied and Harassed at School

After facing relentless bullying and harassment over the past school year, 12-year-old Flora Martinez ended her life on May 7. Now, her parents are demanding change from schools and administrators after the bullying persisted, even once she was gone.

One Year After 26-Year-Old Wife Dies of Cancer, Husband Finds Redeeming Love After Loss With Young Widow

After his wife Maddy died of cancer at just 26 years old, Chandler David Smith was left grieving an unimaginable loss and navigating what it looked like to be a single dad. In his grief, he found new and beautiful love with a young widow and mother of three.

Florida ‘Safe Haven’ Baby Graduates High School, Reunites With Firefighters Who Received Her 18 Years Ago

Eighteen years ago, when she was just one day old, a baby named Colleen was surrendered at a “Safe Haven” box in Clermont, Florida. Now, as she successfully graduates high school, Colleen is reuniting with the firefighters who were with her on that fateful day 18 years ago.

The Letter I Wish I Could Write You. Love, Your Teenager.

Dear Parent:

This is the letter I wish I could write.

This fight we are in right now. I need it. I need this fight. I can’t tell you this because I don’t have the language for it and it wouldn’t make sense anyway. But I need this fight. Badly. I need to hate you right now and I need you to survive it. I need you to survive my hating you and you hating me. I need this fight even though I hate it too. It doesn’t matter what this fight is even about: curfew, homework, laundry, my messy room, going out, staying in, leaving, not leaving, boyfriend, girlfriend, no friends, bad friends. It doesn’t matter. I need to fight you on it and I need you to fight me back.

I desperately need you to hold the other end of the rope. To hang on tightly while I thrash on the other end — while I find the handholds and footholds in this new world I feel like I am in. I used to know who I was, who you were, who we were. But right now I don’t. Right now I am looking for my edges and I can sometimes only find them when I am pulling on you. When I push everything I used to know to its edge. Then I feel like I exist and for a minute I can breathe. I know you long for the sweeter kid that I was. I know this because I long for that kid too, and some of that longing is what is so painful for me right now.

I need this fight and I need to see that no matter how bad or big my feelings are — they won’t destroy you or me. I need you to love me even at my worst, even when it looks like I don’t love you. I need you to love yourself and me for the both of us right now. I know it sucks to be disliked and labeled the bad guy. I feel the same way on the inside, but I need you to tolerate it and get other grownups to help you. Because I can’t right now. If you want to get all of your grown-up friends together and have a ‘surviving-your-teenager-support-group-rage-fest’ that’s fine with me. Or talk about me behind my back — I don’t care. Just don’t give up on me. Don’t give up on this fight. I need it.

This is the fight that will teach me that my shadow is not bigger than my light. This is the fight that will teach me that bad feelings don’t mean the end of a relationship. This is the fight that will teach me how to listen to myself, even when it might disappoint others.

Gretchen Schmelzer
Gretchen Schmelzer
Gretchen Schmelzer, PhD, is a licensed psychologist who has worked for twenty-five years with the complex issues of trauma, integration, and behavior change across every level, from individuals to groups to large systems and countries. She has more than a decade of experience working with traumatized children and adolescents in residential treatment and psychiatric units. She is the founder and editor of The Trail Guide, a web-mag featured on gretchenschmelzer.com dedicated to healing repeated trauma and the author of Journey Through Trauma.

12-Year-Old Girl Dies by Suicide After Being Relentlessly Bullied and Harassed at School

After facing relentless bullying and harassment over the past school year, 12-year-old Flora Martinez ended her life on May 7. Now, her parents are demanding change from schools and administrators after the bullying persisted, even once she was gone.

One Year After 26-Year-Old Wife Dies of Cancer, Husband Finds Redeeming Love After Loss With Young Widow

After his wife Maddy died of cancer at just 26 years old, Chandler David Smith was left grieving an unimaginable loss and navigating what it looked like to be a single dad. In his grief, he found new and beautiful love with a young widow and mother of three.

Florida ‘Safe Haven’ Baby Graduates High School, Reunites With Firefighters Who Received Her 18 Years Ago

Eighteen years ago, when she was just one day old, a baby named Colleen was surrendered at a “Safe Haven” box in Clermont, Florida. Now, as she successfully graduates high school, Colleen is reuniting with the firefighters who were with her on that fateful day 18 years ago.