My 15 year old granddaughter wrote this poem - should i be concerned ?

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stkitt
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   Posted 10/21/2010 10:37 AM (GMT -6)   
Quick background,  my oldest son and wife are going through a nasty divorce and my 15 year old granddaughter wrote this poem which she posted on Facebook.
 
I will admit I am bothered by it.  What do you all think ?
 
"I am the angel of the fallen sky. Who will never say good bye to the world I left behind.
Of sickly pale and beaten skin. Beauty hides behind my sin. Is there nothing beyond my grin?
My heart still beats even when I...'m dead; a heart of gold then blood stained red. This coffin is my home; my bed."
 
Breaks my heart to see a 15 year old writing of death -  I liked it when she played with dolls.
 
Hugs,
Kitt
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awty
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   Posted 10/21/2010 10:57 AM (GMT -6)   
I would be asking some serious questions in an informal manner Kitt. Gut reaction is - whooooooo, back up the truck!!!! Objectivly, this could be part of a song, she could have picked it up any where - work out the facts first, and then you really know wheither you need to be concerned.

Good luck Kitt.

I can only imagine finding someone I cared for deeply, feeling so low, would feel like. (That doesn't makes sese, but you will know what I mean), xxxx

Subzeromambo
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   Posted 10/21/2010 11:43 AM (GMT -6)   
I was the magazine editor for my high school and college before working for newspapers. I literally received hundreds of poems like this. It is actually very well done and could easily be turned into a song. Although this is a common theme with the arts and literary crowds in high school, it would be a good idea to see her. Physical signs of depression are a better indicator of problems with teenagers than what they say. Is she getting enough sleep? How is her appetite? Is her body language tense from stress or defeated in hopelessness? What colors and types of clothing is she wearing? If she is dressing like an emo, all black clothes, black nail polish and a generally run down look, I would be very concerned. There is a very good chance this is just a healthy outlet for her emotions. I am hoping for the best. Lots of hugs,
S.

MMMNAVY
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   Posted 10/21/2010 11:54 AM (GMT -6)   
in a word yes, but more because her folks are divorcing. Divorce is a major life change and she gets no say in it, it think it is very easy to see she is hurting. I am of the opinion that if parents are getting divorced, individual counseling for them and their children should be part of the the divorce agreement.
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Aurora60
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   Posted 10/21/2010 12:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Kitt, it sounds like your grandaughter is hurting badly over the divorce. Especially if this
is played out in front of her she may be very confused. This is so difficult for teenagers to go through. I think she is expressing her hurt. Also, have you considered that she may feel partly responsible for her parents breaking up? Children often blame themselves when their parents divorce. She needs to know that she is not resposible for what is happening in her family. Are there other siblings? Are you close to her so you can be with her and give her your support? I think she might benefit from some counseling, such as a school guidance counselor. I think the best thing for her is to know that her parents love her and that she is not to blame. Any time you can give her would be a big help.
Just a few thoughts I had that I hope may help.
 
Hugs,
 
Aurora

stkitt
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Date Joined Apr 2007
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   Posted 10/21/2010 5:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for the great responses.  She lives in Oregon and I am in MN.   There are 3 children in the middle of this divorce and I have talked to my son but he is not getting it and is upset because the children's Mother is cutting him down to the girls and he is receiving hate emails saying  they never want to see him again.  He needs to put the kids first too.
 
It is so hard and I pray that they will make it through.  I am ready to go out there and stay in a hotel if I can help them but I also know I cannot fly in and play Grandma for a week or so and then just fly off again.
 
I thought being a Mother was challenging but Grandmotherhood has it's own role.
 
Thanks again and I will keep you posted.
 
Love and hugs,
 
Kitt
 
 
~~Kitt~~
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Tirzah
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   Posted 10/21/2010 5:40 PM (GMT -6)   
idk - sounds really beautiful to me. Probably could get published in her high school's poetry book or presented at a local coffeehouse. When I read it the poem seemed to be speaking of life & hope & forgiveness/redemption. Age 13 is usually about when children start to be able to fully grasp the concept of death & its finality. Teens try to make sense of it in different ways. But I'm not sure this poem is really about death at all. I thought it's about life. There are a lot of different "kinds" of death -- death of childhood, death of the past, death of a season of life. I remember one of my high school teachers talking about a certain coniferous tree (like a pine, but don't think it was actually a pine tree) that's seeds are contained in a tough outer covering that can only be penetrated by fire. So it was only by the death of some of the established trees that the younger ones could have a chance to take root. I really loved that analogy. Starting a new chapter of life can be scary in some ways but by putting those fears into words, it takes away some of their power. And when you take those same words "blood, death, coffin" and spin them into a beautiful poem, you gain a measure of control over them -- typical teenage attitude that death can't touch them.

I would encourage you to keep an open mind on what the poem might mean to her. It's totally reasonable to ask her about the poem -- just try not to jump to any conclusions. You might be surprised what she comes back with (she sounds highly creative & it's possible she's also very intelligent & is thinking in a totally different, symbolic way). Poets love talking about their poems & what they mean so it's great if you want to ask her to explain her poem & tell you where she got the idea for the poem & what she was feeling/what she was hoping her readers would feel when they read it (which is another teenage thing -- she may be looking for shock value; that trill of speaking about "forbidden" topics that parents wouldn't approve of is often equally appealing to teen writers & readers).

I hope that helps. There is a possibility that it is a "cry for help", but I would say it's very unlikely. But you will find out either way if you sit down & really listen to her. You don't have to tell her that you like it -- be honest -- but try to find something to compliment in case it turns out that she worked really hard on the poem & needs someone to appreciate that, even if the subject may come across as too grown-up.

I haven't read the others' posts intentionally b/c I didn't want to be swayed but the measure of good poetry is if it elicits a strong response from its audience. I imagine that if nothing else, it has at least accomplished that.

good luck with the conversation (let us know how it goes),
frances

Tirzah
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   Posted 10/21/2010 6:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Kitt-
I read your second post & after reading that, and re-reading the poem it sounds a lot like it's talking about a vampire. Vampires are extremely popular with teens & pre-teens right now. Everything fits in if you look at is as describing a vampire & vampires are supposed to live forever. Usually in pop culture they are connected with each other & win their true love. I can't help but wonder if it isn't just based on our youth culture's idea of vampires being romantic & nearly invincible. It's an alluring idea when you're young.

Definitely messy divorces are hard on kids, though. I would tend to think that the poem could be a positive coping technique, but I don't know her. Personally, I had a nightmarish childhood & going goth was a way to rebel against my parents & connect with people who understood that life isn't all rainbows & puppy dogs. It made my mom SOOO mad, but I actually became much less depressed b/c the people I hung out with were more resilient than most. There are different groups & often they are all lumped together by "outsiders" -- goth, industrial, emo, loners. If she is connected with a caring group of friends -- regardless of how they dress or what kind of music they listen to or what kind of poems they write -- that will insulate her from many things. Nothing is perfect. I lost 2 classmates -- 1 a good friend -- to suicide in HS and both of them were popular kids with good grades & Gap clothing. The kinds of writings they wrote were despondent -- nothing matters, nobody cares, I am empty inside. As a teacher, I went through hours and hours and hours of training on recognizing signs of school shooters & suiciders. The primary risk factor is not having a group of friends, followed by not having teachers/parents/coaches, adults, who care about them, want the best for them & will listen to them. There are lots of other risk factors, but good relationships can overcome a multitude of negatives (divorce, death of a parent/sibling, homelessness, serious illness, etc.).

I think your granddaughter is lucky to have you. I know my gma was a great help in my life. She's suffered from depression too so she didn't just tell me to get over it; plus, she didn't tell me to keep the beatings/burnings/whippings a secret. She tried to get custody of me & even though she failed at least she tried & that meant a lot. She shared ideas about how to barricade myself in my room, suggested school activities so that I could be out of the house as much as possible, send me cards & little gifts (prayer cards, guardian angel pins ... just little stuff that I know she put some thought into). She's a major reason why I made it through high school -- that and my friends. I wasn't allowed to go for counseling & had to sneak out to go to church. So I really had to rely on people who weren't experts but were nonetheless really great at listening, encouraging & loving me no matter what. I am so grateful for my gma & I'm sure your granddaughter is really grateful for you. :) Letting her know that you're sorry for what she's going through with her parents right now & that she can always call you to talk & you will always listen and try to help her if she wants help will go a long way towards helping her get through the divorce (her parents may not love you for it, but it is incredibly healing).

take care,
frances

Scythia
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Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 105
   Posted 10/21/2010 9:36 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Kitt,
 
My first thoughts were - the divorce.  Definitely is traumatic for her.  I see internal strife, anguish, heartache.  Pain is often the source of artistic creation. 
 
That she can't say goodbye means to me - her old world is gone, and she cannot adjust to that.  Her bed is her coffin - a bed is often a place of safety and refuge - now it has become a place of lonliness and pain because it is a place she may dwell on what is happening. 
 
Frances has some good points about the vampire references.
 
If this was my grandaughter, under the circumstances of the divorce, I would keep a watchful eye, but I would not fear anything drastic.  It is good for her to express her feelings.
 
Scythia

THE HAPPY TURTLE
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   Posted 10/22/2010 3:51 AM (GMT -6)   
yes a watchfull eye. a form of expressive prose i feel, jamie.

healings to the family.
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stkitt
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   Posted 10/22/2010 10:29 AM (GMT -6)   
Great insight from all ~ thank you.  Frances,  she is very much into gothic and also she is into photography so she takes wonderful pictures.  I think you have some very valid points and I will talk with her about her creative writing as well as just keep offering support and love so she knows that she has unconditional love from me and the divorce does not change how I feel about her at all. 
 
Scythia,  you are right, her world has been tipped upside down and she is being torn between Mom and Dad, home is not what it was and I know she would like to have her family back the way it was 2 years ago when a day out with the family included everyone. 
 
When I first read the poem I thought - aha, she has talent and then perhaps I overread it but I will keep an eye open and always be there for her and the other 2 children in the family.
 
Her sister has Asperger's and to see the family fall apart breaks my heart as the children always seem to be hurt the most.
 
Thank you each of you.
 
Kitt
 
~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety/Panic, Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.
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"If you can't change the world, change your world"
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