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4 years...4 years...4 years...4 years

Today marks 4 years since T.J. left this earth. Today marks 4 years since T.J. died by suicide. His death has left a void so vast there are no words to describe it. That saying, “time heals all wounds,” just isn’t true. The gaping wound of loss that rips open your soul never heals—but thankfully it doesn’t stay as raw.

There is always a question of what to do on this day that can’t be avoided, but is one I don’t want to remember or mark. Today is the anniversary of the worst day of my life, but instead of focusing on the horror of the day, I will reflect on the beauty of my boy who was a bright spark in this world.

T.J. was a gorgeous baby with a full head of hair, bright, intelligent eyes and a smile that didn’t quit. It seemed he was born running and laughing and playing. He was constantly in motion and kept me on my toes every second. His laugh was contagious and his hugs were the best.

As he grew, his sensitivity became more and more apparent. He felt every hurt for himself or others deeply and tried hard to make everyone around him feel better about themselves. He was a great listener and was always there to help anyone in need.

T.J. had a wild side and he loved to push the limits. He thrived on adrenaline and was happiest on his dirt bike and surfboard. Hockey and lacrosse also fueled his physical nature and ran counter to his sensitive side. On the field or the ice he played like a warrior and never let up.

T.J. was always very affectionate. He would run into the kitchen, scoop me up and swing me around just to make me laugh. I can still see him sitting at our kitchen island catching me up on the day’s events or laying his head in my lap for a heart to heart talk.

I miss my boy so much and am so sad I wasn’t able to understand the depth of his depression. I will spend the rest of my life learning all I can about this dreaded disease and raising awareness of suicide risk in the hopes of saving lives. I do this out of love and sincere caring for everyone. People tell me I’m strong, but my strength comes from all the love and kindness that has been extended to my family and me. I thank you all for every kind word, prayer and action done in memory of T.J. and for our family.

No one should have to suffer in silence from an illness that literally hijacks your brain. There is no shame in depression or any other mental illness. The shame comes from a lack of understanding and compassion. In memory of T.J., please open your mind and heart, be aware, ask for help and let kindness be your guide.

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