I speak for most parents that we often feel defined by our children and their successes. These young vibrant kids are extensions of our own younger selves. We think that we have the ability to live on forever through raising smart, kind, outgoing and ambitious kids. From the moment they were conceived, we planned and plotted and procured the life we wanted them to live. They opened their eyes and took their first breath already having to live up to our pre-exisiting expectations. Whatever happened to just wanting them to be healthy?
If you were to ask me 8 months ago if I thought our son Ian was healthy, I would of course say yes, minus his gross infected ingrown toenail and occasional cough and cold. He was a healthy and loving son. But something we couldn’t see and didn’t know about was lurking, like a cancer to his emotional and mental health. In the wee hours of May 8, 2017 this seemingly healthy loving vibrant boy of ours took his own life.
Our Ian committed suicide.
The enormity of his absence is the most painful feeling we will ever experience.
So we rack our own brains trying to find answers and reasons why he would choose to leave. We all have so many questions. I know you have asked them yourself and you can bet that I’ve already questioned everything 10,000 times. Was it the divorce? Was is my coming out? Was it struggles with classes and friends at school? Was it because he got caught vaping green apple E juice? Or was it just everything instead of one thing?
When we told him about the divorce 5 years ago, his first question was “Was there a pool where we were moving to?” When it came time to talk about my relationship with Kat he told us that “She’s my best friend” When math got hard and he didn’t know where to turn he was open to working with tutors. When some kids at school weren’t necessarily treating him the same way they used to, he talked about it and rationalized that their actions didn’t define him and it was more an annoyance than anything. And when he got in trouble for vaping he texted Kat and I right away and told us that he was sorry and wanted us to hear it from him.
Maybe he told us only what he wanted us to hear. Maybe we heard only what we wanted to hear. Ian’s choice to leave was on his terms. I can say this with a slight smirk that everything he did was on his terms. I want to recognize that we ALL lost someone so incredibly special and unique. We sat together in the church on May 15th, and witnessed over 1,000 friends and family come together and say goodbye to a boy that maybe couldn’t feel how much we loved him.
Through loving Ian the last 14 years and losing him this year we are all changing. One of the most treasured gifts of love from this loss is the relationships we are all making with our young tiny adults. I wanted to share with you this amazing gift that Kat, Bella and I received from our Live Hard crew. These kids have set aside their own lives and agendas to wrap us up with a beautiful message of what we mean to them. If there is any goodness from this tragic loss of ours, it is the love that continues to reverberate off of all who continue to pick up the pieces and livehard with love light and tenderness
The last several months Kat, Bella and I have been on the receiving end of so much generosity and love. It’s hard to put words to paper that can describe our gratitude for those that show up day in and day out in ways that take our breath away and leave us little to say other than put our hand to our hearts and say Thank You.