It was Mother’s Day 2014, a day I treasure because of the two children we’ve been blessed with. But this particular Mother’s Day was one that ended in pain and total heartbreak.
The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office sent an officer and two advocates to our home to deliver the news that our son had died in Georgia, and the cause of death was suicide. Every ounce of breath went out of me, and I wasn’t sure I could take another breath in. I felt like I, too, died that moment. Our son, 36 years old, in the prime of his life, was dearly loved by family and friends. He had a very successful career and was internationally known for his expertise in his field of application development, speaking at conferences in Belgium, Germany and England. His musical talents reflected his creative side, his compassionate heart led him to help others in ways that surprised us.
What hurts most when thinking of his untimely death is the potential that will never be totally realized. We grieve, as well, the hugs, his laughter and the time we could have shared together. The biggest misunderstanding is that he acted selfishly in ending his life. Totally untrue! He suffered from depression and bi-polar mental illness, a disease that can cloud the mind and make a person feel totally hopeless. We saw the signs: withdrawal, talking about some day ending the suffering. But he was an adult. When and how do you interfere? Healing for us came from group therapy through the Alliance for Suicide Prevention, friends and family that stuck with us — with no judgment on their part —, and the strength of God supporting us when we couldn’t go on. With time, we’ve become involved in the K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry, which provides hope and compassion for others that are hurting.