Shrouded in fear


Photo by Alyssa Kift

Story by Kaitlyn Gordon, staff writer

An eerie silence lay upon her room. Sounds came from the TV until she heard the screaming and yelling for help. Those sounds, those ear-aching, stomach-turning screams, can’t be erased. The sight of her mother’s blood on the bathroom floor. The tears streaming down her father’s face. The panic that filled every inch of that bathroom and brought goose bumps to everyone it touched left an everlasting scar.

In the seventh grade, junior Rachel Johnson’s mother attempted suicide at their home.

“I was in my room watching TV, and all of sudden, my little sister runs into my room and says, ‘Mommy is trying to kill herself.’ I started crying and wanted to believe she was lying,” Johnson said. “I walked into my parents’ bathroom and there was blood everywhere and razor blades on the floor. My mom had slit both of her wrists. My dad was freaking out and applying pressure, just trying to stop the bleeding. Earlier she had posted her suicide note on Facebook, and one of her coworkers had called an ambulance. I think that someone from Facebook also contacted my dad and told him to check on my mom.”

In the face of her mother’s suicide attempt, Rachel looked for an explanation; she believes the four recent deaths at that time within her mother’s family and workplace provided some sort of reason for all that had happened.

I walked into my parents’ bathroom and there was blood everywhere”

— Rachel Johnson

“My uncle had died from cancer. My aunt died from an infection in her leg after a car accident. My cousin died in a four wheeler accident. My mom’s best friend and coworker died from cancer two days after being diagnosed,” Johnson said. “It was really hard for her, and she already hated her job because it was stressful. She was under a lot of stress and wanted out, but she didn’t know how to get out. She thought she would disappoint us by quitting her job.”

She now constantly worries and fears about what might happen. That day is forever imprinted into her mind, and no matter how hard she tries, the fear of losing her mother, of losing someone she’s almost lost before with no warning, stays with her.

“I feel like now I live everyday in fear even though, after she came back, she said that was never going to happen again,” Johnson said. “We believed her, but I still live everyday thinking that it still could happen. It’s just really hard when something like that happens to you and your family. You just constantly live being terrified of it happening again.”

Johnson is aware of her surroundings. Erasing this day is not something she can ever do, but she pushes through. Although Johnson is fearful of what may happen, she believes she is stronger as a person and a friend after what has happened. She tries to look out for others now and help them if she can.

“It’s made me stronger in a way. I’ve been through things that a lot of people don’t go through,” Johnson said. “I’m extremely sensitive to the subject of suicide and self harm. If I see anything on social media like that, I freak out and feel like I have to go see my mom. If I hear a scream, I have to go check on her. If a door slams, I have panic attacks. I feel like it has made me stronger and more aware of my surroundings. I listen out for things more. I pay attention to people more, and I try to take care of people who are sad more than I would have before this.”

I can’t be away from her for a long time because I feel like I might lose her”

— Rachel Johnson

Almost losing her mom has made Johnson want to be much closer to her mother. She spends any and all time she can with her, because she is unsure of what might happen in the future.

“It’s hard to not think about when she’s upset,” Johnson said. “I can’t be away from her for a long time because I feel like I might lose her. I spend time with her a lot. We play games, watch movies and do just anything to spend time with her. Even though she doesn’t say it, she wants the company; she’d rather be with people than be alone.”’

In the face of despair, it is understandably hard for Rachel, or anyone else,- to somehow overcome this and look forward, yet she does everyday. She stands tall and bravely. She shakes the thoughts in her mind from this day. In fact, she uses this to mold her into the person she is today.

“I’d be completely different, probably a lot weaker,” Johnson said. “It helped me build. It made me stronger in a way.”