It has been a month since my oldest took his own life. His struggle with anxiety and depression was nearly life long. When it happened, we, as a family, were determined not to cloak it in secrecy. Too many suffer in silence. Since his memorial, a few have come forward to let us know that our courage helped them to come forward too. We are hoping there are many more who haven't contacted us that were also helped by our brave choice.
During the service, a female pastor from our church read the following eulogy that I wrote. Many have asked for a copy. I will share it in writing here in hopes that it will drive traffic to my site - a place I have consistently advocated for topics on mental health. If my words strike a chord, please consider sharing my site with someone who may also need to hear them. I will take a few months off now to heal and hope that in the spring, the return of new life carries me forward into a happier future.
As Jack’s mom, I wanted to address the stigma surrounding his death. Jack struggled with deep, dark depression for most of his life. We recall little Jack coming into our room crying many nights because his anxious brain wouldn’t shut off and let him rest. It was heartbreaking. Our journey to help him through often filled us with despair. We tried every tool we could think of to get him relief, and nothing ever caught.
As a fellow sufferer of a mental health condition, watching my own child struggle with this darkness was like a punch to the gut. To not have answers or be able to provide relief to my baby boy was excruciatingly painful.
Many times on my own way to becoming well, I wished that I could fly away from the oppressive darkness of depression, but those prayers remained unanswered. Instead, I sought the light and learned to live above life’s troubles - much like a butterfly floating on the breeze.
Jack chose to fly away from us. If I’m being honest, I wish he would have stayed and learned to float, too. We will miss him, but as a family of faith, we by no means think his story is over.
Our wish for those of you who struggle with similar things like Jack did, get help. Seek the light. If you live with a mental health condition in silence, you give it power. You let the darkness win. For the sake of those who love you and need you to be here, find a way to float rather than fly away.
If you would like to give a gift in Jack's memory, considering giving to Mary Greeley Medical Center's Behavioral Health Unit - a place many have found healing and hope, myself included.