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Dear Michelle Levy

Eva Winfrey
White Station High School
Memphis
9th - 12th Grade
1st

Dear Michelle Levy,

My father tried to kill himself twice. The first time, I wasn’t prepared. I was twelve at the time. What twelve-year-old would understand why her father wanted to kill himself? How can a twelve-year-old be prepared for that? Four years later, he tried again and it nearly destroyed me. I secluded myself and came across your book Not After Everything. As soon as I finished the first chapter, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to put it down. There was an instant connection, one that I never experienced. Your book guided me through the worst time of my life.

It was a Saturday morning. My mother came into my room and woke me up around eight o’clock. Being the stubborn person I am, I rolled over and buried myself under the sheets, dismissing her. “Your daddy is taking all of his medicine,” she said. I darted to his room in tears, hugged him, and told him that I loved him and understood why he was doing this. I did understand; he’s been in pain for sixteen years with no relief.

“How could you understand?” “Suicide is selfish!” “If you commit suicide, you’re going to hell!” I heard all of those things before but I didn’t care. I just cared about my dad. I was about to lose the man I’d worked so hard to impress. I was about to lose the man who was supposed to sit in the audience at my high school graduation, my wedding, and so many more milestones.

He laid down in bed and told me not to be like my mother; not to hate him for doing this. I fought with myself to say that I wouldn’t hate him, but if he had died, I would have. I felt the paid that Tyler felt when he found his mother in the bathtub. I watch the life drain from my dad. I watched his identity drain from his body, every ounce of the man I called “Papa” disappearing. Tyler was too late and couldn’t save his mother. My mother saved my dad by calling 911. After twenty minutes of trying to find vitals, the paramedics found a fading pules. He spent two days at the hospital, furious at my mother and I for calling the ambulance. I hated him for having the audacity to be angry at us. He wanted to die and now we would have to deal with his hate.

I went numb. I didn’t know what to do. Like Tyler, I became a recluse. I pushed everyone away. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, not my mom, my brother or any other family members. I was very reluctant to tell any of my closest friends. The support system Jordyn and her family provided for Tyler made me realize that friends are vital in the coping process.

Tyler made it out. He made it out of the darkness because he had Jordyn. It took him a long time to lead himself out of the darkness, but he had Jordyn to drag him out by the collar. Ms. Levy, your book deeply changed me. It gave me a completely new quality and perception of life. This book may be a work of fiction, but there are people like Tyler Blackwell walking around, waiting for something good to come around the corner. Your words made me realize that here is a future ahead for me. Your words made me hope for a better life. I am still coping with my dad’s attempts at suicide, but I can cope knowing that there is a great future waiting for me upon the horizon. Thank you for this book.

Sincerely,

Eva Winfrey, Grade 11

2017