“I begged God to give her back to me”: One mother’s prayer when her daughter jumped 14 storeys in suicide attempt
TRIGGER WARNING: This story contains material about the suicide attempt of a minor that some may find distressing.
by Christine Leow // May 7, 2021, 4:58 pm
“My heart was in so much pain thinking what pain she must have felt to no longer want to live, to rather die than be with me,” said Ling Min as her daughter lay crushed in a hospital bed. Photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash.
It was an ordinary evening in May 2017. The family of five – mum, dad, 13-year-old daughter, grandpa and grandma – had had a nice dinner that included a fish dish.
“My daughter ate a lot of the fish,” said Ling Min* (not her real name), 48.
“My daughter was all smiles when we left.”
Then, Ling Min and her husband left to collect some crockery they had ordered online. Her in-laws went for an evening stroll, leaving her daughter Wenhui* (not her real name) home alone.
“My daughter was all smiles when we left,” Ling Min recalled.
So, husband and wife thought nothing of it when they returned to find ambulances and police cars around their condominium block.
“We even shared the lift with the police and asked him what happened. He told us something had happened on the first floor.
“We thought that maybe the first floor neighbour’s dogs had bitten someone,” said Ling Min.
When husband and wife got to their 14th floor apartment, the first sign that something was amiss was that their front door was unlocked but no one was home.
“We do sometimes leave the front door unlocked because the security at the condo is quite good. But if no one is home, it is usually locked,” said Ling Min.
“My heart dropped. My daughter never lets us look at her phone and has never told us her passcode.”
The other thing that did not sit well was that their daughter’s bedroom windows were wide open and her handphone was on her bed along with a slip of paper that had a passcode.
“My heart dropped when I saw it. My daughter never lets us look at her phone and has never told us her passcode.”
The couple rushed to look down from the window but only saw police and paramedics crowding around something.
“It was too dark and too far down to see what it was. But when we looked across, we saw that the people in the opposite block were all standing at their balconies looking down as well.
“Even our next-door neighbour was at his balcony looking down. He was the one who told us, ‘While you were out, police came to your house but no one was home.’ I had a bad feeling.”
Ling Min and her husband rushed downstairs.
“On the way down in the lift, my husband was already collapsing. He could hardly stand. He had to support himself with the lift railings. He kept saying, ‘How can it be like this? It can’t be. It can’t be.’
“I patted him and said, ‘Nothing bad is going to happen. God will take care of her.’ I have always prayed for everyone in the household every day. Just that morning I had prayed for my daughter.”
“The moment she said that, I knew my daughter had jumped down.”
Ling Min had been a Christian since she was in her 20s and had seen God work in her life. In that moment of uncertainty, she remembered how God had “never failed me”.
“He has always been there for me even if it sometimes takes a long time for me to see it. I felt God would have heard all my prayers.”
At the scene of the commotion, she saw her in-laws.
“My father-in-law was standing there expressionless. My mother-in-law was sitting on the ground crying. When she saw me, she could hardly stand.
“She crawled to me and tugged at my skirt and said, ‘It’s Wenhui.’ The moment she said that, I knew my daughter had jumped down.”
A mother’s prayer
Her daughter had indeed fallen 14 floors but she was still alive.
Paramedics rushed her to the hospital but did not let the family follow her in the ambulance.
“I couldn’t see her. I couldn’t go near her. They just took her away. Instead, the police kept wanting to interview me.
“I wasn’t in the mood. I just gave them her handphone and passcode.”
“I felt like such a failure then. How could I be a good mother if she would rather die than be my daughter.”
Ling Min had scrolled through the messages in her daughter’s phone before that. In it, the teen had talked about how stressed she had been over school work.
“She even wrote, ‘I have an assignment due tomorrow. It is good that I am gone because I will not have to hand it up now that I have left the world. Goodbye my beloved piano. Goodbye my new home.’
The family had recently moved into the condo.
On the way to the hospital, Ling Min called all her Christian friends and asked them to pray for her child.
“It took me a long time to get their numbers because my eyes were all blurry. I don’t know if it was from my tears or the shock.”
Wenhui needed emergency surgery. Her injuries were massive – there was damage to her lungs, liver and kidney. She had serious skin lacerations and broken bones throughout her body including her face. And she had lost a lot of blood. The surgery would take four hours, doctors told the family.
As they waited in the hospital corridor, Ling Min wept.
“As her mother, I beg You to give her back to me. As You gave her to me when she was born, give her to me now.”
“I kept hoping it was just a dream. I felt so sorrowful thinking about my daughter. How sad she must have felt, how she must have lost hope in life to decide to jump from such a height.
“My heart was in so much pain thinking what pain she must have felt to no longer want to live, to rather die than be with me.”
Wenhui had always been an obedient child. Many had commended Ling Min for bringing her up well. Ling Min herself had been heartened because she felt she had not pressurised her daughter much over school work.
“But I felt like such a failure then. How could I be a good mother if she would rather die than be my daughter.
“How had I not known what she was going through? I cried till I felt like my heart would break.”
Then she begged God to restore her daughter.
“I told Him, ‘I beg you, have pity on me. If this is how her life should end and if her suffering on this earth is so bad and You want to take her away, I will accept it.
“But as her mother, I beg You to give her back to me. As You gave her to me when she was born, give her to me now.’ I know you are the one in control of the surgery.”
Miracle upon miracle
Within two hours of being wheeled into the operating theatre, Wenhui was wheeled out. The surgery was a success. The bleeding was stopped. But she was still not in the clear.
“I knew God had heard my prayers. He had raised His hand to save my child. But I refused to stop praying. She still had a long road ahead – maybe more surgeries, rehab.”
In fact, the doctor in charge of the ICU would go on to paint a rather sombre picture.
“I asked her, ‘If you can hear me, can you move something?’ And she raised her left hand.”
There was the possibility of brain damage given the great height from which Wenhui had fallen. Because her face was so swollen, he also suspected that her brain might be swelling too.
If indeed her brain was swollen, it could take days, weeks and even months for the swelling to subside. She would be unconscious till then. Even if she did regain consciousness, there was no guarantee she would be able to function as she did before. Finally, she could also develop an infection post-surgery.
“I accepted all this but I also trusted my God. I took all that the doctor had told me and brought it to God. I knelt and cried before Him and asked Him to return her to me.”
That night, just 24 hours after Wenhui had fallen 14 floors, she regained consciousness.
“I was in the toilet when my husband shouted for me. He said the nurse was asking if we wanted to see our daughter.”
At her bedside, Ling Min spoke to her daughter, telling her that God had saved her life.
“I told her not to be afraid, that she was not alone. We were all there, everyone was praying for her. Though her eyes were closed, tears fell from them.
“Then, I asked her, ‘If you can hear me, can you move something?’ And she raised her left hand.”
“The nurse told me, ‘Though I’m not a Christian, surely a big hand must have come to pull her up.’”
When Ling Min saw this, her spirits lifted. She knew then that Wenhui not only heard her, she had understood her.
Later, the family would find out about other miracles surrounding the incident.
Police told them that Wenhui had fallen in such a way that she had avoided landing on a wall on the ground floor and other items such as outdoor lighting and electrical boxes that would have caused even more damage.
“Her head was just 5cm from that wall,” marvelled Ling Min.
The ICU doctor who had given the family a litany of possible bad outcomes was all smiles.
“He told us he had seen a lot of serious cases in his time and this was truly a surprise. He didn’t think she would wake up in 24 hours.”
An ICU nurse also told Ling Min that, in her years as a nurse there and from her medical point of view, the possibility of Wenhui surviving and even waking up within 24 hours was low.
“She told me, ‘Though I’m not a Christian, surely a big hand must have come to pull her up.’”
The road to healing
Ling Min knew the odds. At the time, her daughter was already 1.6m tall and weighed 50kg. She was the size of an adult. Falling from such a height, she should have died. Most would have.
“I didn’t know how to thank and praise God. His ability to heal is so great. His protection is so powerful.”
After a week, doctors scheduled Wenhui for a pelvic surgery to repair her shattered pelvic bone. It was a tough surgery that required the expertise of a UK-trained surgeon.
“The surgeon told us that our pelvis is like a jade bracelet. When it breaks, there are two sides. Screws have to be put into each of the sides to help the healing. And then there would be another surgery to remove the screws later on.
“Also, there are a lot of nerves in that area. There could be possible nerve damage as a result.”
But, when the surgeon examined Wenhui, he had good news. Her pelvic bone was unusually strong. It could recover on its own. There would be no need for surgery.
“I didn’t know how to thank and praise God. His ability to heal is so great. His protection is so powerful.”
“The moment I jumped, I knew I was wrong. I think Satan must have laughed because he thought I was in his grasp.”
Within three weeks, Wenhui was discharged. After six weeks, she could walk again. Today, Wenhui is 17 and in a sports co-curricular activity. She walks, runs and swims without any problems.
“She was restored to me exactly as I had pleaded with God. We really do have a God who hears us, who is in the midst of us. He is real and alive.”
But God did more than heal Wenhui’s body. He healed her soul too.
“My daughter told me that from Primary 4, she already had thoughts of suicide. She would think, ‘If I died, I wouldn’t need to go to school or feel this pain and suffering.’
“By Primary 5, the thoughts would come about twice a year. By Primary 6, it was every month. By Secondary 1, it was every day.”
Her daughter had even done research online to see if she could die from a 14-storey fall.
“She told me, ‘If I didn’t jump then, I would have done it another time. But I didn’t expect Jesus to save me.’
“But Satan celebrated too soon. He didn’t expect Jesus to save me.”
“Her words to me were, ‘The moment I jumped, I knew I was wrong. I think Satan must have laughed because he thought I was in his grasp. But Satan celebrated too soon. He didn’t expect Jesus to save me.’”
Wenhui was put on anti-psychotic medication after her suicide attempt. Six months later, her psychiatrist cleared her, saying she did not appear to suffer from mental health issues.
Wenhui was taken off the medication.
“But if she didn’t have mental health issues, why did she try to kill herself? Doctors couldn’t figure it out. I believe it is God’s healing.”
He is real
Though Wenhui knew her survival and recovery was nothing short of a miracle, as time passed, she did wonder if it was just a coincidence or pure luck.
“If not for God, there would have been no one to help me. The doctors didn’t give us much hope. My husband was devastated.”
Then, at a youth camp in June 2018, after a time of prayer, Wenhui started to shiver all over.
“She had never experienced anything like it before. It was uncontrollable and she couldn’t stop.
“After that, she told me she believed that God is real, the Holy Spirit is real and that she would never doubt her miracle again. She wept for hours when she realised this.”
The family’s faith has become stronger as a result of all this. Ling Min can attest to the power of prayer and the protection of a powerful God.
She honestly does not know why Wenhui was saved when some others were not. It breaks her heart to think of other families.
But she said: “If not for God, there would have been no one to help me.
“Maybe God wants to use my daughter to save others.”
“The doctors didn’t give us much hope. My husband and in-laws were all devastated.
“I only had God. Even if my prayers never got answered, I always know that God’s will is there and I submit to it.
“But I will never stop praying. It’s like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46) when He asked God to take the cup away but still said, ‘Your will be done’.”
Wenhui now shares her story with friends who harbour suicide ideation to encourage them and give them hope.
Said Ling Min: “Maybe God wants to use my daughter to save others.”
*Names have been changed at the request of the family.
Editor’s note: If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please seek help at one of the organisations listed in the sidebar below.
Where to find help
- E-mail [email protected]
- Call SOS’ 24-hour hotline: 1-800-221-444.
- Contact family.org.sg/counselling. Face-to-face or online Zoom counselling are both available.
- Contact Care Corner Counselling Centre. Call 6353-1180 for a counselling appointment.
- Call 6235-4705 for Care Corner Parenting Support
- Go to Care Corner Mental Health Instagram @insightccs for resources.
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