Most of the time, I write about what’s going on with me and depression. I’m going to try and talk about something I really do not know much about – suicide. Last year, two people in my life lost their sons. One was a young adult, the other a tween. Both of these guys had their entire lives ahead of them, but for their own reasons, felt that ending their life was the answer. Neither of their moms, both equally incredible women, are in my inner circle. One is a respected colleague and researcher and the other an equally dynamic and successful attorney and friend from college. Somehow, that I wasn’t super close to them didn’t matter – the gut punch that accompanies news like this isn’t figurative, it was literal. Immediately my thoughts were about the families – how do they move forward, what do they need, what can I do? What has surprised me are the ongoing thoughts about the families that still happen more frequently than I would have thought they would. My lingering questions of why? and how could this be the only answer for these two young men to chose? still stop me more frequently than I thought they would – and I’m on the outside, not living the day-to-day. How their families and friends and loved ones don’t stay rolled in a ball is beyond me. I’m amazed by what can only be defined as extreme strength that I see coming from these truly wonder(ful) women.
Just like depression, coping, survival and recovery manifest differently, it’s personal and non-linear in nature. What works for one person may be the opposite of how another deals and moves forward. There is no playbook, only suggestions of what might be helpful, I’m guessing. Thinking ahead and about how this tragedy can be used to benefit others cannot be an easy decision and one, I would assume, that comes through careful, thoughtful consideration and only if/when they feel they are able to do so.
One of the families has decided this is the path they feel they want to embark upon. They have created a foundation in their son’s/brother’s name to further support adolescent mental and behavioral health. It is a family and community affair. Their first event is a 5k run/walk being held Saturday, October 7th in Southern California at Oso Park in Mission Viejo. Personally, I’m both impressed and excited that they’ve chosen an activity like this as their event, as exercise makes a big difference in my approach to managing my depression. All proceeds raised during the 5k and pasta dinner fundraiser will benefit the Mission Hospital Foundation and will help to fund research and treatments related to adolescent mental health. If you’re local to Southern California, please consider registering and attending. Or if you’re not local or would just prefer to support financially there are direct links for donations in the two links I’ve shared above.
My heart is with these two families. They are both exquisite examples of persistence and of character as they continue to move forward on their journeys.