Trigger Warning: Suicide, depression
My beautiful son has ended his life after a long, ferocious battle with severe depression and persistent suicidal ideation.
He wanted to live. Wanting to live and knowing how are two different things. And mental illness, just like cancer, is not something we choose. It is not shameful or a reflection of character. And it is not the fullness of who we are.
Jairus was a deep thinker and challenged me to consider and see differently. He was playful, loved to tease, and loved when I’d play video games with him that scared me. (And of course, in no way does this begin to sum up the incredible person he was.) He was also a deeply sensitive soul who wrestled hard and wasn’t sure he was good enough.
Besides his dad and I, he had a solid crew of friends and his two sisters who also loved him deeply. He knew he was loved.
In honour of Jairus, laugh with your family- belly laugh. Love your people without condition. Meet each other where you’re at. Talk about mental health with your kids – and about what lights them up and makes them afraid. Listen well. Take care of yourself so you model health to the people you love.
And remember, life is so damn short so don’t waste a day on things that don’t truly matter.
It feels like an impossibility that we will continue to live and that the world will keep turning without him but somehow we will – for our daughters who also deserve to live a full life even though their big brother is gone.
Jairus, I would never trade loving you.
I would give you my breath
To hear you laugh once more
And I would offer up my life
In one heartbeat for yours
I would pour out my life blood
To buy back your peace
But I don’t know how to live
I would trade all pleasure
To end your pain
I would carry your suffering
If I could
I would give up my freedom
To release your chains
But I would never trade
NOW WHAT? I will not be responding to comments and will not publish any that feel disrespectful or talk over me. I am in the process of having to let go of my baby and am sharing this because we need to remove shame from the conversation around mental illness and also because writing is one of the healthiest ways for me to process and keep living. ALL PROCEEDS FROM MY WINTER MINDFULNESS JOURNAL WILL GO TO ESTABLISH AN ART SCHOLARSHIP IN MY SON’S NAME – YOU CAN LEARN MORE HERE.