#RIPValerie Time Doesn’t Stop by Kayla Sykes (A MUST READ) #StandUpForKayla

EDITOR’s NOTE: Yesterday, Perrysburg High School families found out that a 14 year-old student took her life.  The following was a response to that announcement. Kayla’s letter is heartbreaking yet inspiring.

If you are having dark thoughts, please…please tell someone you love and trust.


Written by: Kayla Sykes

Time doesn’t stop.

Time is similar to a train without a destination. You fall into it, and eventually you fall out of it. It doesn’t even take a moment to say goodbye. Time has no feelings, connections, or family.


Unlike life, time continues. There isn’t a way to rewind, pause, or fast forward; and living in such an instantaneous world, makes that difficult. It is especially frustrating when you have to “wait it out.”

It wasn’t her time to go. I am sick over this, absolutely sick. I have never met her, but I know her all too well. Because I was her.

I don’t talk about my past often; because I put it behind me. I don’t think about my past often, because that isn’t me. But with every story I read about a young girl that takes her own life, the ghost of my past meekly chimes in.

And for Valerie, for Kayla Meeker, for all of the kids that have gone before their time, I will open up. Because, I for some reason survived. And if I did, than you can too. You have to give it time.

When I was 13 I woke up depressed. Absolutely nothing happened to me, besides teenage hormones and a transition to Jr. High. I was just a normal kid, with a normal family, and I had a normal life. Until a light went off. I was miserable, I didn’t know who I was, and with the world spinning uncontrollably around me, I lost myself in trying to find myself. I changed my hair, my clothes, my makeup; and the music I listened too. And with that, I became the target for all of the middle school and high school bullies. The bullying continued for a couple of years, and made me sick; I was constantly insecure and uncomfortable. I began to feel worthless, and started to inflict pain on myself. Therapy didn’t help. I wanted none of that. I didn’t want to be alive, and I wouldn’t be anymore. I was sick of being bullied, I was sick of the way I felt, and I was so sick of living with someone I hated so much; myself.

The feeling of shear empty is real, and cold, and dark. The echo of taunting and name calling is haunting. Wishing you wouldn’t wake up, so you didn’t have to live in a nightmare. Cutting yourself, and making yourself throw up so you could feel a different pain. The feeling is so painful, that the only thing that makes sense, is to leave. And one day, I left.

Like I said, I was just a normal girl, with a normal family who loved me. I was pretty certain a quarter of a bottle of ibuprofen would end my life; and so I took what was left, and went to bed scared and upset. I was upset that my mom let my brother use the computer. I was angry that my best friend wasn’t allowed to come over. I was walking on eggshells around a group that I desperately wanted to be a part of, and they would never let that happen. 3 people called me fat. My 7 year old sister was doing something annoying, and I’m pretty sure my mom wouldn’t let me dye my hair. My dad grounded me for making myself throw up, and I wasn’t invited to a birthday party, because someone made up a lie about me. These are the things that pushed me over the edge. These are the reasons I ended my life.

With news of another suicide, I feel as though I am a ghost, explaining what makes one feel so dark, lost, lonely, and a need to escape. I feel like a ghost of a teenage girl who left the world alone, and misunderstood. I am a girl who was bullied, I am a girl who was miserable, I am a girl who had enough, and I am a girl who decided to commit suicide.

Had my suicide attempt been successful, I would not be here 11 years later writing about it. Time happens, and it’s in our favor. If my life ended in the dark clouds, I never would have learned how to climb a mountain, and come out stronger. I never would have gotten the chance to experience life, and life comes with happiness, and sadness. But with the scars of sadness, we learn. I’ve traveled, fallen in love, found my passion, and most importantly; to me; I have brought a beautiful life into this world. And until you hear the belly laughter of your own child, you haven’t lived life. I have worked with amazing children from all over the United States, some on their last days of life. I have gotten to help solve a few puzzles with former children of mine on the Autism Spectrum. I have been so blessed to be able to share my passion with my own child. And I am able to watch this person, that I love most in the world, strive to be like me. Her heart and compassion for all people is something I know I have in some way modeled for her, and that; was worth waiting for. The years of bullying, and sadness end; and great things come with time. I promise, just give it time.



Columnist, Writer for Radio Shows across the US & Canada, Promoter, Believer, Father

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Posted in Bullying, Column, Death, Discussion, education, Family, Feels, Life, News, Perrysburg, RIP
26 comments on “#RIPValerie Time Doesn’t Stop by Kayla Sykes (A MUST READ) #StandUpForKayla
  1. Bobbi says:

    I love you. I love that you are still here. I love my daughter gets to grow up in a world that not only has people like you in it, but has you specifically. Thank you for this. Thank you for being you.


  2. […] #RIPValerie Time Doesn't Stop by Kayla Sykes (A MUST READ) #StandUpForKayla. […]


  3. CV says:

    wow how touching 😦


  4. Robin says:

    I am glad you are here!


  5. That is Beautiful! Wow, what an inspirational piece. I’m so sorry for the loss of Valerie. My heart and thoughts are with her Family, Friends, and Community. I hope they mend, though I know they will never fully heal. It is impossible to come back from such a tragedy whole again. In my opinion, it’s best that way. Without the reminder of that pain it is impossible to avoid it in the future. In honor of the life that couldn’t be saved, there are always others that can be. In the memory of Valerie, there is a hero within anyone that her life touched. You all have the power to save a life. Smile. Pay attention to those around you. Be an Upstander and not a Bystander. Stand Up for the Bullied and find help for the Bully. Live your life being kind, be the reason that others smile. Be Yourself and take pride in who you are. Also, be aware that there are always eyes on you, waiting to be inspired by what you do; though you may never know. I cannot even begin to express the importance of knowing that things DO GET BETTER! Let the people around you help you thru your hard times, but never let go of HOPE=Hold On, Pain Ends. Please visit StandfortheSilent.org. They are always there. They have every resource imaginable to help with combating Suicide and are a huge support for those suffering from a loved one’s suicide. Please, everyone reading this, visit the SFTS website. It will better equip you in knowing what you can do to never have to grieve like this, Again! Thank you, Kayla Sykes. Rest In Love, Valerie. ❤


  6. katie says:

    Reading this honestly gave me the chills. Was so inspirational. I’m so happy your attempt had failed because like you said you wouldn’t be here 11 years later to share your story. I can relate so much to this. #staystrong


  7. Advocate for Children says:

    We need to #staystrong for our children, be aware and present with your kids. Thank you for sharing your story!


  8. Tammy says:

    Bullying has been an issue forever. We moved to Perrysburg when I was in the 7th grade, my mom was a single parent and we were very poor. My first day at P-burg, a group of girls… Cheerleaders stared at me as I walked into class. I heard their whispers… “Do you see her shoes?” It was the worst time of my life, never accepted by any of the schools clicks except the druggies. It never stopped, they talked about me and my clothes, hair and home. If you aren’t well off in Perrysburg the kids will make you feel awful. This was in 1977, I hated to go to school and eventually quit. You might think you know how your kids are but when you aren’t there with them…needless to say I survived and I made sure when I had children, they didn’t go to Perrysburg. It’s so sad.


    • Dana says:

      It’s not a geographical issue. It begins with the adults in the bullies’ lives. Eisenhower was the same. Even being a cheerleader (the same 6 made it for our 8th & freshman years, & yes, I was one of them) didn’t exempt you from the pain the “popular” kids can inflict. There are cliques within cliques. I didn’t consciously refuse to belong to any of them, I just never wanted to make anyone feel as bad as I allowed them to make me feel; I was nice to the “stoners”, band geeks, special ed kids, jocks,hardasses, nerds…(Not my labels, but every school has their own version). I raised my daughter Sam the same way. Not by what I taught her with words, but what I showed her. Be nice to people; don’t worry about what someone else will think if you’re overheard saying “hi” & smiling at the “fat kid” as you pass in the halls. I can go to any reunion & not have to wonder who will be there that I was an a**hole to, because I wasn’t. Ever. It absolutely sickens me that kids commit suicide over such bullsh*t. It’s not bs when you’re on the receiving end. It’s Russian Roulette, using insults, snotty remarks, & those long looks in the halls as the target tries desperately to fade into oblivion. Do you think those who aided Valerie in her path to “checking out” know they played a part? God, I hope so. Do they get it, that Valerie felt death was preferable to facing their taunts one more day? That alone speaks volumes. Death. Was. Better. Jesus, that’s a harsh reality. They must be so proud. The contributors’ parents can have a big helping of blame as well; the bullies weren’t born that way. Rest in love, Valerie.


  9. Doug says:

    Well said! I too remember the despair of middle school and jr high. Kayla puts it so well, that you just have to give it time. I recall feeling like it would never get better. Not understanding that in a few years it would all be behind me. At that age you don’t know these things, and have no reference to compare it to.

    I want to go back to that kid and make sure he understands that. Because it was hard. In many cases I’m better for it, but back then it felt like a black hole I would never escape.


  10. gladditude says:

    Very well written and touching – and I do hope kids listen.. But having a child in the Perrysburg school system who is bullied constantly and is told by the school that he brings it on himself – maybe it’s time the school opens it’s eyes finally.. A child brings it upon himself to be called gay and to be told to just go kill himself as the world would be better off without him? And when this child finally has had enough and fights back – who gets the call? Who is the trouble maker because the bullies were told to shut the f*** up and leave him alone for once? Yes, I do and gee – don’t you think your child would really succeed at Penta? That would be a “fresh” start and great experience.. Come to find out.. Penta is just chock full of Perrysburg Schools bullied kids who found no support and decided to escape the only way they could. No, my child is not perfect and no angel but how can I try to teach him tolerance when all he sees is hate and then bias from the system. And maybe he doesn’t get good grades but who wants to learn in that environment? He’s definately not stupid – his OGT’s prove that since his scores were all advanced and better then all averages combined including PHS students. Time – it is time – to let our kids shine and no longer be abused by their peers or their schools! Wake up Perrysburg – you have a problem and you need to stop hiding it under Pentas skirts


    • Michelle says:

      Have you considered a private school? While they are expensive, they do offer financial aid. My daughter left Springfield after 8th grade and now attends a private school. Middle school was hell and there were many dark days where we worried she would never be happy again, let alone survive. She is a different kid after one year, and I know part of it is directly related to the switch in schools. The kids are simply raised better and are nicer.


  11. I love that you are still here!! Suicide has hunted my family for many years, stealing our love ones, leaving us with unanswered questions and what ifs. I have lost a sister,mother in law, brother in law and 2 uncles. I believe if we speak out about suicide we can save many lives!For so long no one wanted to speak about it, it was hush, hush and pretend it didn’t happen.The more we talk about and teach our kids the warning signs more lives we can save!! please keep sharing your story!


  12. darcy says:

    Beautiful words from a beautiful and strong soul. I am glad you are still here and after reading this, believe the world could use more like you. Thank you for writing this.


  13. Dh says:

    Very well written, Kayla. I, too, am glad that you are still with us! Teenage years are so tough! Bullying, has been around for years in schools, the work place, home, and in the community. It happens in all schools, not just in the Anthony Wayne School District, which recently has taken a direct hit! Educators try their hardest to educate students and staff regarding bullying. Protocols are in place but often difficult to enforce due to many unforeseen circumstances. Teachers are there to help with every issue needed but often teenagers have difficulty communicating what is wrong or as you said, you don’t know. Parents also need to take an active role in being positive role models, listening to their children and teaching them positive social skills.

    Beautiful pictures of you and your daughter! You’re so blessed!


  14. Arlene (Tjaden) Garvin says:

    How touching! I have only known you for a short while, but I would never have guessed that you were bullied. You are such a blessing to the children you work with. I feel so sorry for the parents, family and friends. Yes, there is a bullying problem. Been there and understand how bullying feels.


  15. Julie Meeker says:

    Thank you for that beautiful and possibly life saving article.


  16. Patti Powers says:



  17. KH says:

    Thank you for taking the time to share. I hope all take it serious and help put an end to bullying. Teachers do the best they can and report. What about when teachers are bullied by administration?


    • Sharon says:

      How sad, God Bless Valerie’s loved ones and may she finally be at peace. Bullying is deplorable and it even occurs at the workplace ( I have seen it) . It is so sad. The bullies are the ones that need help.


  18. Joanne says:

    I am so glad that you are still here & so willing to share your inspirational & heartfelt story. I find it tragic that some humans can be so cruel to others. Ironicaly, these bullies are the ones with the low self-esteem & small minds. Sending blessings to the families of those who feel that suicide is the only way to eradicate their pain.


  19. Grateful says:

    Your story is such an inspiration for all those teenagers feeling this way. So happy you are here to tell it. Thanks for sharing, it can help save lives!


  20. Amy Lyons says:

    Thank you for this! Because like you i too had many troubled years as a teen trying to fit in trying to find muself and trying to know who i truly was and hating every waking minute! Depression and hormones and rage and bullies and being a heavy child too pushed me over the edge at a time and by the grace of god litterally i prayed to give me strength to yell for mom after i downed a bunch of sleeping pills and was rushed to the ER where they pumped my stomach and kept me alive and after that moment i knew that i wanted to live and if for no other reason but to have mmy mom show me what real love was ment to be not what all those things in junior high and high school was.. i know am an adult who have overcome so many undeserving horrible situations and through it all i have two beautiful babies and a wonderful that would have never been mine if god hadnt given me strength that very dreadful night that i too seldom talk of, and realize we shouldn’t keep these things secret we need show kids that it all gets better with time that the things that are so dreadful to you as a teen you look back one day and cant believe that you thought those things were so horrible If anyone takes anything from this please know this THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO CARE AND UNDERSTAND AND IT DOES GET BETTER!


  21. So Sorry for your loss,I myself being a parent to a 10 year old daughter that is getting Bullyied very badly just sickens me we live in Monroe Michigan and it as well is one big click I have tryed Everything to get help and nobody cares she literally has been out of school since April and No one has contacted us to find out why my daughter has not been in school I have contacted anyone & Everyone you can think of and no one will help,she has been going to a counselor since April and we are going to put her into a private school just gonna be doing a lot of praying that it will be different for her that she won’t be getting Bullyied,am so very heartbroken over the fact that no one cares about the Bullying up here 😞


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