YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE...MAYBE TWICE!
Three days ago Imogen celebrated her fourteenth birthday. Today will be her deathday. A death caused by her own hands. She's attempted suicide twice before and hopes the third time will be the charm. She
is on her bed writing her suicide note.
Why would someone so young, blessed with an extraordinarily creative mind , a compassionate
loving heart and has a father that loves her more than life itself want
to die so much?
The sad irony is Imogen doesn't really want die. She wants to live. She wants a beautiful bright future. She wants
to fall in love. She wants to have children someday. Mostly she wants
to be able to make her beloved father proud and to have hope.
What she doesn't want is the life she has now. A life plagued by endless
pain and suffering brought on by her peers and an uncaring system.
From pre K. to second grade she was often teased for being chubby. The
summer before she hit third grade she had shed the extra weight by
practically starving herself. The kids left her alone for a
while. Then around fifth grade kids began teasing her about something
else. Something she couldn't change. The little monsters began
bullying her for being a lesbian.
Imogen has never declared being a lesbian to anyone; it is only in the last year that she come to
terms with being gay. She's not comfortable with being a lesbian. It
isn't so much the same sex attraction that bothers her but people's
judgment and hatred of it. Another thing that makes her uneasy about
being gay is being different from everyone around her.
Imogen always had an intense desire to fit in and no matter where she goes
she's always been the odd one out. When you're in junior high the last
thing you want is to be different. Being different in junior high can
be rough. Being gay can be Hell. Even the perception of being gay is
enough to get you screwed.
The kids at school pelted her with all kinds of offensive slurs like dyke, lesbo, gay bitch , and
pussy-licker. It wasn't long before the harassment went from verbal to
physical. One of the worst attacks Imogen suffered was getting jumped
on a school bus by three girls. The assault left her unconscious and
badly bruised. Imogen's attackers were expelled but not before her
father confronted them and threatened to beat them to death. Imogen's
father was arrested for threatening his daughter's attackers. Later on,
he pleaded no contest to the charges and received probation.
Imogen was moved to a new school. She and her father hoped the transfer would
solve her problems but nothing changed. The kids there were even
crueler. They took bullying to another arena – cyberspace. Imogen's
tormentors posted hateful and nasty remarks on her Facebook page. The
little monsters hacked into her profile and defaced it with homophobic
epithets and lesbian pornographic imagery. A mortified Imogen took
down her profile but the cyber bullying didn't end. The tormentors
posted their scathing remarks elsewhere. Her father intervened and
took harsh measures to put an end to the web harassment. He called on a
hacker buddy of his to deface and defame the profiles of her
tormentors. The online bullying ceased not long after.
Unfortunately Imogen's father's attempts to end the bullying in the offline world
didn't go so well. The powers that be at her school weren't as
cooperative or compassionate as the last school. The bullying persisted
at full speed.
Fed up with the situation, he allowed Imogen to have prolonged absences from school. After a couple of weeks, a city
worker came knocking on his door complaining of Imogen's truancy. He
warned him that if Imogen didn't return to school that he could be fined
and serve possible jail time.
Imogen overheard the warning and became fearful for her father. She reluctantly decided to return to
school. Jim pleaded with Imogen to hold off returning but she felt
pressured to go back. Imogen's return was anything but
welcoming. Once again, she was battling bullies.
By this point, Imogen became very suicidal. She ingested an entire bottle of
painkillers and prayed that she would never wake up. A few hours
later she woke up in a hospital bed, her terribly distraught father by
her side. Her father made her promise she would never try to kill
herself again. Imogen tried so hard to keep her promise. But recently
something horrific broke her.
On her way to the restroom, a group of male students grabbed her and held her captive in a janitor's
closet. They teased her, fondled her and raped her. The punks taped
the savage ordeal and took photos. They told Imogen that if she
reported them to the authorities they would post nude photos of her on
the web and brand her as a whore. They also threaten to slowly torture
and murder her father. Imogen said nothing about the rape. It wasn't
their threats that kept her quiet it was the reality of what her father
would do to them if he found out. She knew his volatile temper. He
would castrate and eviscerate them and would gladly go to prison for it.
Several weeks had passed since the gang rape. Not telling anyone about what
happened is killing her soul. She can't eat or sleep. Her waking
moments are spent reliving the horror of her attack. To pour salt on a
gaping wound, her rapists pass by her everyday in school acting as if
nothing happened, having the time of their lives. It's all just too
much to take. So she decided on her birthday to end it all. She
would've killed herself on that day but she wanted to have one more
special day with her father. They went out to Six Flags and later at
her favorite restaurant. Her father gave her a top of the line Canon
SLR along with an extra lens for her birthday. He had spent months
saving up for it.
Imogen tears up writing the last words of her suicide note:" I am so sorry Daddy. I'm sorry that I wasn't strong
enough. I' m sorry that I can't take the pain anymore. I wish I
could've been the daughter you always wanted. I wish I could've made
you proud. See you in Heaven. Good-bye"
Imogen places the note on her bed next to her stuff animals. She holds an 8x10 photo of
her and her father taken four and half years ago at Coney Island. The
photo was taken by her mother who tragically passed away the following
year. She had never been happier than in this wonderful moment frozen
in time. The picture and the memories attached to it level her.
She desperately wishes she could tell her father farewell face to
face. She prays he'll forgive her. Imogen takes a deep, deep breath
and readies herself for what she feels she must do.
Imogen pulls out a heavy duty extension cord and ties it into a noose. She
gives the noose a hard tug to test its strength - it passes. Imogen
secures the noose to something sturdy up above and then brings a small
ladder right below it. The gallows is complete.
Death by hanging is definitely not Imogen's preferred way of dying. She
researched the effects of what happens to a body after hanging, it
scares her. Hanging can be a long and excruciating demise if things go
wrong. She prays for a quick death.
Imogen turns on her sound dock and plays her favorite song – U2's" Sometimes You Can't Make On
Your Own." Her eyes well up with tears as she slowly makes her way to
Imogen's heart begins beating very rapidly. The pounding is so overwhelming she can hardly think. Crashing waves of
despair slam into her each wave more crushing than the last. She tells
herself this will be all over in just a few moments. Eternal peace is
soon at hand. She wonders if she will meet her mother in heaven.
Imogen takes her first hesitant step up the short ladder. A blistering chill
races down her spine when she stares up at the noose. She breathes
deep and continues to take hesitant steps to the top.
The noose and Imogen are eye to eye. The weight of hopelessness in her stomach
has gotten heavier by a million fold. Despite a growing cluster of
doubts gnawing at her, Imogen proceeds to wrap the noose around her
neck. Suddenly, Imogen's breathing becomes labored. Tears start to
fall. Her hard breathing quickly gives way to hyperventilation.
A flood of wonderful memories with her mom and dad rushes her
head. Flashes of hope go through her heart. Guilty thoughts of
abandoning her father eat at her soul. Flashbacks of the rape claw at
her, as does the mocking and taunts of her tormentors. This tsunami of
memories and emotions are unbearable.
Imogen violently shakes her sobbing head and wails. Then the pain stops. She took the plunge.
The once loose noose instantly tightens around her throat. Her arms and
legs flail helplessly. The oxygen to her brain thins out. Urine and
fecal matter are expelled. The color quickly fades from her contorted
face. The extension cord mercilessly digs into her flesh. She had hope
death would be quick but he's not letting her off that easy. Imogen's
struggling body continues to suffer under the unforgiving grip of the
noose. She suffers and suffers until her body can suffer no
more. Imogen is dead.
Two hours pass. There are sounds of footsteps climbing up stairs outside the bedroom door and a
voice. "Imogen! Imogen!", her father calls for her. He knocks on the
door. No response. "Imogen", he calls again. The lack of response
alarms him. Parent's intuition sets in; he feels there's something
wrong. He knocks again and calls her once more. He pauses and then
opens the door. What he witnesses behind it is his worst nightmare
His little girl hangs like a ravaged rag doll in front of him. He gasps in indescribable horror as he rushes to her
body. He holds her up to keep the pressure of the noose off and whips
out a Leatherman to cut the cord. He lays Imogen's body on the
floor. One look at her and he knows there's no point in checking her
pulse. He does it anyway. There is none. His eyes burst into a
flood of tears as realizes that his only child has just died before
him. "Why did you do it, honey?! Why did you do it?!", he cries
out. "Why did you leave me alone?!" He punches the floor in furious
anger and lets it all out.
Imogen's father blinded by insurmountable grief he is unaware of his daughter's corpse showing faint signs
of life. Imogen's dilated eyes open and eerily turn to her father who
is now shockingly aware of her reanimation. He is absolutely
petrified. Imogen gazes at her father with eyes of haunting
He is incredulous and terribly conflicted. One part of him wants to pull away, the other part wants to hold her and
tell her that everything will be all right. Imogen stretches her dead
hand out for her father. His heart breaks into a thousand pieces. He's
never seen her so pained and pitiful. Perhaps against his better
judgment he reaches for her hand. The deep coldness of her hand
unnerves him; it truly hits him that his Imogen is dead.
Both father and daughter look at one another and share a painfully quiet
moment. There is an ocean of sorrow overflowing in their eyes.
Abruptly the quiet is shattered, without warning Imogen bites into her
father's forearm. He screams in agony. Imogen's jaws are sunk into his
flesh like a gator's. "Get off!!!" he yells. With a labored jerk
Imogen bites off a chunk of flesh. Her father gets up, recoiling in
searing agony. Imogen whimpering, her head lowered in shame,
reluctantly chews up the flesh. Her father looks at his gaping
wound. It's quite bad but that's not what concern's him most. All that
matters to him now is a scared girl who died before her time only to be
cruelly brought back again. The dead deserve their peace.
The defeated dad steps out the room, while Imogen continues to chew on her
food and whimper on the floor. After a few moments her father steps
back into the room with something in his hand - a baseball bat. Imogen
winces at the long blunt instrument gripped in his hand and the
tortured determination in his eyes. He tearfully approaches her
"Imogen", he said. "I' m so sorry I failed you." Imogen starts shaking
as her father raises the bat. She screams and he screams. Then he
brings the bat down on his baby's head. She continues to scream as he
brings the bat down again and again, battering what's left of his badly
It takes seven heart rending blows for Imogen to die once more. The last blow caves in Imogen's skull. The childless
father breaks into a wretching sob that would make the heartless weep.
He looks at the ruined remains of what was once his little girl. "
You're at peace now honey" he said. You're finally at peace." Wiping
away the tears, he tells her for the last time with all his heart: "I
(This story is dedicated to the memories of all those who've been bullied and are gone too soon . This story is also dedicated to those who've been bullied and are still here.