The sorrow on the little girl’s face is heartbreaking, but that’s what her mother wants people contemplating suicide to see.
Dani Bates posted a video on Facebook of her 3-year-old daughter, Winnie, on a day filled with “ups and downs.” As the mom-of-two explained, “We miss daddy extra today.”
Winnie’s father, Denny, died by suicide on March 23. Three months later, his young daughter is struggling to come to terms with the fact that he’s gone.
The reality of suicide: Today has been full of ups and downs. We miss daddy extra today.Edit: This video has been getting a lot of attention. I’m so glad. Please continue to share. Yes, it’s painful to watch but this is reality for us. Everyone should be required to watch her agony so that we can do something to help stop the insane number of suicides happening. My sharing and your sharing has helped and will continue to. Also, before you judge, read my whole story. Winnie is in therapy twice a week with a specialized child therapist (and I am in weekly). We are working on getting out her feelings, so this is good for her to express. I give her constant loves and snuggles. I hold her through a lot of it and occasionally support her nearby while she gets out all of her feelings, sadness, and anger. A lot of things are crazy right now, but I do know one thing… I am a great mom. And I’m doing everything I possibly can to prevent as much damage as possible for my sweet girls. Read more about our story here:https://danibates.com/2019/03/27/dennys-obituary/https://danibates.com/2019/03/24/the-first-post/https://danibates.com/2019/05/15/7-weeks-in/Edit: If you would like to see how this video has saved lives, go to my page and look at my posts. There are so many messages of people who have been changed by this and we are truly saving lives! Thank you for helping me do so.
Posted by Dani Bates on Tuesday, June 11, 2019
In the video, Winnie cries and sobs as she talks about missing her father:
“Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, come back. Daddy’s … not … coming … back? I miss Daddy. I want Daddy to hold me.”
As Dani explained, this is “the reality of suicide,” and she wants others to share it:
Yes, it’s painful to watch but this is reality for us. Everyone should be required to watch her agony so that we can do something to help stop the insane number of suicides happening. My sharing and your sharing has helped and will continue to.
For those concerned about Winnie, Dani explained that their whole family is in counseling:
Winnie is in therapy twice a week with a specialized child therapist (and I am in weekly). We are working on getting out her feelings, so this is good for her to express. I give her constant loves and snuggles. I hold her through a lot of it and occasionally support her nearby while she gets out all of her feelings, sadness, and anger. […] I’m doing everything I possibly can to prevent as much damage as possible for my sweet girls.
Since her husband’s death, Dani has worked to raise awareness of suicide. In Denny’s obituary, she talks about how her husband was struggling with mental health issues beyond his control:
Denny’s loved ones are heartbroken, but know also that he would never have made this choice if nothing were imbalanced in his brain. This was not a selfish act; he truly believed he was doing the only thing he could to protect his little family. Denny died of suicide, but it was because his body didn’t work the way it needed to. It caused him to have painful thoughts and feelings that he could not control.
Dani has chosen to be open about her husband’s suicide and its aftermath because she wants people experiencing suicidal thoughts to get help.
In her first blog post after her husband’s death, she urged those in a similar situation to reach out to someone else:
No matter how many times I told him I loved him and how wonderful and amazing he was, he had a block there that couldn’t see it. If you feel this way, don’t make a decision you can’t take back. Although I feel a great amount of peace and strength, I WOULD DO ALMOST ANYTHING TO GO BACK IN TIME AND HAVE HIM HERE. If you feel like no one is there for you, I am. Talk to someone. Get it out.
That’s why she posted the video of her daughter’s sorrow. As hard as it is to see, she wants people with suicidal thoughts to understand that there are people who love them and there are treatments that can help. As she wrote in response to a comment on the video:
I know my husband didn’t think this would be our reality almost [three] months later. He thought we’d be okay. It’s not okay. And I hope this changes the way people think and gives them insight into what happens after you choose to leave.
Dani has been criticized for making her child’s grief public. However, the mom is adamant that this is one of the ways to make those with suicide ideation reconsider. As she wrote on Facebook:
I know that so many of those struggling feel like they are a burden to their loved ones. I hope this shows that no matter what your issues/demons/addictions/etc are, you are still needed. You have to choose to stay. You are not helping people by taking your life. You are only bringing pain. You are loved and you are not a burden.
And Dani’s willingness to share her grief appears to be making a difference. The mom recently posted some of the messages she’d received from people who had been struggling with suicidal thoughts.
Several of them said that the video of Winnie in tears made them think about the pain their death would cause to their children.
In addition to helping those considering suicide, Dani also wants to help those who are grieving and remove the stigma around mental health issues.
Because Denny wasn’t eligible for life insurance, Dani’s friends and family have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the mom and her two small children.
In the meantime, the mom plans to continue trying to build a “community of support.” As she wrote on Facebook:
“While it’s rough right now, I know things will get better over time. I would love to share our journey about how we get through this, because we will. We have to.”
If you or someone you love is struggling with thoughts of suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.