And here we are, again. I was randomly browsing Instagram when someone posted Simone Battle (member of the group, GRL…XFactor) up with RIP in the caption. Before I began looking, I had a feeling on what I’d read. Whether I know a person or not, there’s always this knot in the pit of my stomach when I learn that someone made the choice to end their life. And this isn’t because I’m in judgment. Never! It’s because I always wonder if the person had someone who tried…tried talking to them, tried listening…tried to make sure that they knew everything would be okay….tried anything to prevent this. Was she alone? What caused her to sink so low that she thought she could never find her way out? I ask all these questions and then realize that while many of us take hard hits from life that cause our emotions to sink, sometimes simply trying to fight through LIFE in general takes a toll on us. I don’t want to assume anything about this girl because I didn’t know her. What I do know is that she shared a common thread with so many others, myself included. The only difference is that, unfortunately, she wasn’t able to turn it around this time. I am NOT making the assumption that she had any type of mental illness, but something was there that made her feel muted in a room full of people. A lot of you have sent messages to me asking how you can best look out for friends and family who slip in and out of depressive episodes. And the only real (but cliché) answer I have is to simply BE there. If they CHOOSE to talk (cuz remember, don’t force it), listen with the intention of understanding and not to simply offer a compassion free, “well actually” type response. Understand that they may not be able to explain WHY they feel the way they do, but caring enough to at least ASK means a lot. Hate having to read stuff like this. You oftentimes want to ask God “why did I make it through my thoughts and attempts but ____ couldn’t?” Life’s twist and turns. Horrible. RIP Simone.