Jody Allard didn’t want her son to watch “13 Reasons Why.” After all, he’d been hospitalized twice for suicidal thoughts, and the threat of his taking his own life was, she says, “always looming over my family.”
“I’ve spent months of my life terrified that every missed phone call or unanswered yell down to his bedroom means he’s dead. The last thing I thought I needed was to watch a show that depicts my worst nightmare,” says Allard.
At her son’s request, however, she watched the series, “13 Reasons Why” together with him, after he’d already watched the season in a marathon viewing. “Every time I’d get angry at Hannah,” Allard remembers, “he’d tell me to keep watching. I got angry at Hannah often, maybe because it’s safe. I can’t blame my own son for struggling with suicide. But I can blame a TV character for being by turns imperfect, irrational, and quintessentially human.”
“Watching ’13 Reasons Why’ was the first time I allowed myself to consider,” says Allard, “that you can do everything right and your child can still end up dead.”
But perhaps the most healing insight came when Allard actually grasped the idea that her son’s suicidal thoughts weren’t her fault.