Yesterday, I received this loving message from a Facebook friend who understands the grief of losing a loved one to suicide. She bravely shared a story with me. With permission, I am sharing her story. If you remember, on Tuesday, I found a rose that I felt Amanda’s strength and energy come through. I was gifted one by @Margitta’s Flowers and Facebook page in North Vancouver, BC. Here is her message and story. Thank you so much for sharing with me.
“Walking by Lonsdale Quay today. Thinking of you. I saw your post so I went by there and bought one!" I asked her if she talked to the ladies at the flower shop to let them know what made her buy that particular flower.
Her reply - “Honestly I was so suddenly overcome with emotion I didn't say anything. I was afraid I would do the ugly cry. I buy all my flowers there. They know me. I often bring my seniors to visit there. I went up to the cemetery and placed the flower at Ryan's grave. Here's what I put up on my Facebook page yesterday for #BellLetsTalk Day. When I was up at the cemetery today I thought about Amanda and seeking justice. I thought about the trial in Amsterdam. What you must be going through. I asked Ryan to find her up in heaven! Sending strength to you!”
“I shared with you because I wanted to share that I get it. I can understand. Even though different circumstances I can relate. The pain. Sorrow. Grief. Even 22 years later. That said, I lost a brother. Losing a child? I cannot imagine losing one of my kids. Yet you fight on. An example for all of us on what strength truly looks like.”
“Have included a treasured photo of me and my brother Ryan. He was 2 years younger than me, extremely bright, funny as hell and had a future full of promise. Just after he turned 19 and on a trip with his best friends to Mexico he experienced a psychotic episode. After his friends managed somehow to get him home safely he was hospitalized multiple times. Then he was diagnosed with rapid cycling bi-polar disorder. He battled and fought this fucking disease for 3 years. Manic highs and depressive lows. It robbed him of so much. He expressed to me that he felt he just couldn't live the life he was meant to. One week it looked like finally one of Ryan's long dark depressive episodes had lifted. He told me he was feeling better and he looked happy. He told me that he and his best friends were going camping. This was exciting news for us because he hadn't seen his friends in months as he was feeling too depressed to socialize. But he tricked us all he told us this story so our protective guard was down. He had a plan. He hugged me hard that day and told me he loved me before going out the door. This wasn't an uncommon occurrence because through his illness we became very close. The next time I saw my brother was in the morgue at Vancouver General Hospital.”
“His devoted friends had found him up in the North Shore mountains he loved. His will to live was stolen by mental illness. His best friends lovingly carried his body down the mountain. They all still live with this everyday. Our family still lives with this everyday.
“Ryan was only 22 years old ~~ June 30, 1972- October 20, 1994.”
Please please if you feel depressed and suicidal talk to someone and get support. There is always hope. Life is worth living. #BellLetsTalk”