by Susan Andersen
As the Fourth of July approaches, I miss my son very much – just as I do on every other holiday. When Ian ended his life in April 2012, my life fell completely apart. I did not believe there would ever be a time – a minute, hour, or day that would not be dominated by the agony that surrounded losing my only child.
Five weeks after he died, I found the Alliance of Hope and posted an introduction on the forum. I was greeted with so much love and support. It was there I learned how to breathe again and there that I began my journey towards independence from grief.
Ian suffered from depression.Suicide was a means to end the suffering he experienced on a daily basis. When he was a teenager, I saw some troubling signs but I took a “wait and see” approach, thinking: maybe it’s just “being a teenager”. His friends remained the same, schoolwork didn’t change.Teachers used to remark that if he only did his homework, he would have been an ‘A’ student! He was well-liked. He saw a counselor for a while and we had many conversations about substance abuse but “depression” never came into the conversation.
Not until the age of 22 did he seek help on his own, and when he was diagnosed, it was such a weight off his shoulders.You could see it in his eyes. He enrolled in college, and a few years later got engaged to a wonderful woman – but it was a hard road. My husband and I had moved an hour away. We didn’t see him all the time but spoke frequently.
This picture of us was taken right around his birthday. I look on this picture fondly because he was in such good spirits and so excited about the future. Six months later he was gone.