“I didn’t believe I had to protect her from herself.” Family of Thornton girl speaks out against suicide, cyberbullying

<img width="150" src="https://i0.wp.com/www.denverpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/martinez-suicide_ac22773x.jpg?w=620&crop=0%2C0px%2C100%2C9999px" alt="Melissa Martinez, surrounded by her daughters, ” data-src=”https://i0.wp.com/www.denverpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/martinez-suicide_ac22773x.jpg?w=620&crop=0%2C0px%2C100%2C9999px” data-srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/www.denverpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/martinez-suicide_ac22773x.jpg?w=620&crop=0%2C0px%2C100%2C9999px 620w,https://i0.wp.com/www.denverpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/martinez-suicide_ac22773x.jpg?w=780&crop=0%2C0px%2C100%2C9999px 780w,https://i0.wp.com/www.denverpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/martinez-suicide_ac22773x.jpg?w=810&crop=0%2C0px%2C100%2C9999px 810w,https://i0.wp.com/www.denverpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/martinez-suicide_ac22773x.jpg?w=630&crop=0%2C0px%2C100%2C9999px 630w”>

In the weeks before she died, Isabella Martinez, a green-eyed 13-year-old with a beautiful singing voice and a passion for making homemade facial masks and lip glosses, was called ugly and fake. A girl at her middle school threatened to beat her up and rip out her hair.

“Makeup ain’t doing nothing for you,” said one message, sent anonymously through an app on her smartphone. “Everyone says you’re pathetic.”

Bella’s mom and three older sisters didn’t know the extent of the bullying, nor the depth of the eighth-grader’s sadness, until Bella took her own life Sept. 10. In a house filled with dying funeral flowers and photo collages of Bella and her sisters, all with long, dark hair and wide smiles, the Thornton girl’s family talked through tears, hoping to save someone else.

Though their emotions are raw, and their mother can barely get out of bed where she cuddles with Bella’s blanket, they’ve vowed to speak out against suicide to anyone who will listen.

“You see so many parents and families who try to hide it because they are embarrassed and ashamed,” said Bella’s mom, Melissa Martinez. “I’m not embarrassed or ashamed. I’m sad. My heart will never be the same. My life will never be the same.”

To say cyberbullying caused Bella’s death is oversimplifying the complex reasons for suicide. The Martinez family blames the bullying, but just as much, themselves, for not asking more questions, not monitoring her social media accounts, not knowing how much Bella was hurting.

They look back on one of her posts — “My mind wasn’t wired for this world” — and ask themselves why they didn’t see it as a warning. Bella was moody, could switch to the other extreme in an instant, but that was her personality, they thought. She had to have the last word, and her family hoped she would put that to good use as a lawyer.

Each morning her mother would tell Bella, “Don’t let the small stuff get to you. You’re bigger than that.” Like most middle school girls, Bella “didn’t like not to be liked,” Melissa said.

Andy Cross, The Denver PostMelissa Martinez, surrounded by her daughters, from left, Katie, Olivia and Erika holds a picture frame with photos of her daughters including larger photos of Isabella, upper right and lower left of the picture frame, at the Martinez home Oct. 12, 2017. Melissa’s daughter Isabella Martinez, 13, took her own life Sept.

Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle

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