My Heart Grieves for Taniella

You cannot find peace by avoiding life.” 

Friday night as I perused my social networking accounts, I saw three letters my eyes hate to see, R-I-P.  My heart sank. I don't do well with death, especially when it's something so horrid as this death.  I clicked, clicked and clicked around to see if I knew her. I didn't but her face looked familiar.  CSUN student, Taniella Block had passed away. It was said that to be an apparent suicide. 
Yesterday I took some time to just get to know who she was and who she was to many of those around her. There were hundred of comments on a memorial page on Facebook. One common comment : "she had an infectious smile".  From the looks of all the photos posted, they were right. Taniella appeared to have been a vivacious, highly involved activist. She was active in many circles inculding music performance as a French Horn player.  She worked in Student Housing and the Childern's Center at CSUN. She was a Resilient Scholar and was active in the LGBTA community.  She spoke out on what she believed in and fought for rights for all.  She seemed so fun, so full of life. One could only imagine what was going on inside to even contemplate suicide. 

After a while I just couldn't click around anymore. I sat in my cubicle and literally balled. I didn't know Taniella at all but my heart still grieved for her, her family and her friends. She impacted so many lives. And yes, she had an infectious smile but there had to be something under that. We know that she had taken a break from school this semester but I wonder did anyone do a follow up or a follow through. Did anyone even know or see signs that she had been going through something? 

Last October during CSUN's Love Week, Taniella spoke about coming out to her family about her sexuality. “I watched [my mom’s] face as I told her that I was not straight,” said Block. “I watched the emotions on her face. They went from mad, to sad to confused. I knew in that moment that coming out isn’t just a process that you deal with. It’s a process that you and everyone who loves you deals with, too.” Could this be a reason she wanted to take her life? I guess we can only project reasons and circumstances, right? 

My heart not only grieves for Taniella but it grieves for every young female that experiences the hardships of life with what they seem to think are heavy enough burdens to take their own life.One person every 17 minutes takes their own life. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students. Sometimes a suicidal individual may express the idea of "being a burden", of "being better off dead", or of "wanting to get away from it all". Suicidal persons usually want to communicate their feelings; any opportunity to do so should be encouraged and not ignored. 

Having dealt with a person who was suicidal I can tell you that it's not something to ignore. Sure we want to attribute these cries, to an attempt to receive attention. I'd say to give it to them. Truly analyze a person's behavior before determining that they are "crazy" or before saying "she's going to be ok" with no extra follow up. It's important to encourage seeking professional help any time someone is seriously contemplating suicide. If you are not a professional in the matter there is only so much you can do alone. Be patient, even when you get frustrated and feel like giving up on them. That is probably when they need you most.

May Tanielle rest in peace. Let the life she lived be an example and carry a legacy.