This week I had to teach my daughter that someone could take their own life.

I knew it was something that had never entered her innocent 9-year-old mind.  And I hesitated to tell her.  I knew she wouldn’t understand.
I don’t even understand.
But it was a cloud hanging in our air last week.
She overheard Casey and I talking about a funeral on Saturday and asked what had happened.
How did he die? she asked multiple times.
I tried to be aloof and said we weren’t sure….that it might have been a car accident.  But when she brought it up again later that day, I thought I should be honest.
And it broke my heart all over again to sit down, and in simple terms try to explain something that is so complex and impossible to comprehend.


Last week a sweet, kind, talented young man in our community took his life.
He was only 16.  He was liked and loved by everyone around him.  His family loved him.  His church family loved him.  He was smart and funny and smiled whenever I saw him.
Many of his peers had seen him just hours before the tragedy occurred.
And everyone is left wondering how and why?  And what could have happened differently?

I know this is not the typical post you come to read on my blog.
But it has weighed heavily on my mind this week and I can’t stop thinking about it.  I get emotional every time I picture that sweet young man, joking around with his friends, having fun.  And I hope that writing this down will help ease some pain for anyone feeling sad this week, or aching for the loss of their own friend.

Because this makes me sad on so many levels.


Sad for his sweet family who loved him dearly and are living a horrible reality.
Sad for his 14 year-old brother who will forever remember finding his brother.
Sad for the many close friends he had in our youth group at church and at school, who are confused and heartbroken to lose their friend, and buddy, and swim teammate, and co-worker.
Sad for others who have lived through a similar experience.
Sad for taking away part of Lucy’s innocence, to explain to her that someone can actually shoot himself—that some people feel sad enough in their lives, that they want the pain to end.

And for myself….sad and thankful for the small interactions I had with him while working with our youth group at church.  For the past 5 years, I’ve been able to work with the young women (12-18 years old),  in our congregation at the Mormon church.  Many of them were close friends with this young man.  I’ve loved being a part of their lives and watching their talents grow.  They’ve taught me so much and I hope I’ve inspired them as well to want to live good lives and be kind to others around them.  Serving in the Mormon church is time-consuming.  For those of you unfamiliar with our faith, all “callings” within the church are non-paid positions, that rotate around with all individuals in the congregation.  Those asked to be a Bishop, leaders, teachers, etc. spend many hours, giving service to people around them.  And they do this because they love others and they love God.

But just last weekend I had been complaining to Casey about this very thing…I had told him I was tired of giving so much of my time to church callings, and to kids, and to all the things that I felt were being asked of me, and of him.  This conversation had come right when summer was coming to an end and I was worn and spent by our busy lives. I was aching for some time to jump back into my blog and business.  I was spread thin.

I think we all feel this way.  Every mom.  And those of the Mormon faith know the fine details I’m referring to.
And then just as I had spent the week complaining in my own mind, came this sad death in our community.
And I immediately felt selfish.
Selfish for putting something so trivial as my blog above the opportunities we all have to help others. How insignificant it seemed in the larger picture of life.


And I was suddenly thankful for the many hours I had spent with the youth girls, in church lessons, chatting in the car, going to dances, toughing it out at girl’s camp.  And for the many hours we and the other women I serve with had spent discussing these girl’s needs and how to help them each individually in their lives—to help them through the tough times they were facing.  I was thankful for the teachers in our church and at my kids’ school who teach my children good values.  And I was thankful for the people who have touched me in my life.  I was saddened by the loss from our community, and also happy that I get to be part of the bigger picture.  We all do.

And I thought of all the wonderful people who have been part of this young man’s life.  It’s easy and natural to retrace our steps and wonder if we could have said just that one thing differently.  We can feel guilty and continue to ask why?

Sometimes there are no answers.

It’s very hard to understand how a young man, who appeared so happy on the outside could make such a horrible decision.  The eulogy at his service was beautiful, remembering the many great talents he shared with us all.  He was very involved with the swim team at school, and all of his teammates showed up for the memorial service wearing their blue swim shirts, so proud that they knew him.  The sea of blue (and some red shirts from the opposing school) just made me cry.  What love.

But I also appreciated the honesty of the eulogy.  The speaker touched on something that I started researching a bit last night called Impulsive Suicide.  Because as a parent and friend, we all hope we can prevent someone who may be feeling the same to snap out of the impulsive moment.


I read a few articles here, here, and here that all came to the same conclusion—that many suicides, when they occur lethally (such as by a gun, rather than by a slower culprit such as a drug overdose that may have a chance to be stopped) are often contemplated and carried out in a short period of time.  They are often impulsive.  They happen within 5 minutes to an hour of the original thought occurring.  Someone hits a sudden low in life (due to unforeseen experiences to those of us on the outside) and the person simply wants the pain to end.  Taking their life seems like the only way.  A few survivors (cited in this article above) who jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge realized immediately that they did not want to die, and immediately regretted their decision.  Impulsive acts like these are not always thought-out.  But tragically, they are final.


Sorry for the heavy post here my friends.
I’m definitely not a psychologist.  Nor can I even imagine what it feels like to be this boy’s parents.  I know some of you have gone through this sad experience in your life.  And my heart breaks for all of you.
I don’t know what sad event or thing in this young man’s life took him to a low point.
But I love these words his parents wrote at the end of his obituary:

“Please hold him close, as we do, in your mind and spirit, and remember the meaning of this tragedy. Reach out to those in need of a friend, and let us honor the qualities and gifts that make each of us unique. Tell someone how much they mean to you even if you think they already know.”


If you feel sorrow or loss in your own life, there are many beautiful messages here.
If you feel inspired to call or text a friend out of the blue, do it.  They will only thank you.
If you’ve ever felt low in your own life, please remember that there are hundreds of family members and friends who love you, and are cheering for your successes.

Many hugs and prayers for this sweet family.
And thanks for letting me share with you in this open space. I promise the next post will be full of fabric and happier times.

  1. 1) Jenny D

    I’m so sorry to hear this heartbreaking story, Dana. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing, I love all your posts, and am glad you feel you can share things other than sewing with your readers. May we all hold someone a little closer today, Jenny

  2. Hugs. Sorry for the loss you and your community share.

  3. 3) Tara

    Thank you for your open and honest blog and all your hard work! We had a similar experience in our Stake just a few months ago. The ripple we felt through our community was astounding. Such a devastating time. Love to you, your family and community!

  4. 4) Cammie

    Dana, I’m so sorry for your loss and the loss of your youth group. Suicide is such a tragic, confusing, and complicated loss to process. I will keep your YW and YM in my prayers as they process this sad event.

    September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. For anyone who might be looking for a way to show extra love at this time to those who have suicidal thoughts, need help processing the loss of a loved one, or could use a little more education you might be interested in this website: they work hard to help educate and support people about suicide.

  5. 5) Kimberly

    It’s amazing while our lives can turn so quickly, and how others experiences can have such an affect on us. This is beautifully written and I’m so sorry for this pain that you, and your entire community feel.
    My husband is the suicide prevention coordinator at a military installation. It’s a very heavy topic to face each day. But the thing I think we’ve both learned from it is this: like so many other struggles in life can be helped with awareness. The more we are aware the more we can see, in the case of suicide signs that he had these thoughts of taking his life. Often my husband can be weighed down from what he does for a living, he has a poem him his office that gives him perspective. It’s about the man walking along the beach throwing starfish stranded on ten beach into the ocean. When approached about why he is doing what he’s doing, “you can’t save them all.” He picks up a starfish throws it in and says something to the effect, ” I saved that one.”
    Prayers for peace during this tough time!

  6. Thank you for opening up about this experience and your faith. I had to discuss suicide with my 6 year old last year because an older child in the school jumped out a window and died. It was a deliberate jump, but it was also impulsive. It was terribly confusing for all the kids in the community.
    So sorry for your loss.

  7. 7) Leslie

    Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry your ward family is hurting so much. Prayers for the young man’s family and for healing for all of you. Take your time “coming back.”

  8. What beautiful, sincere thoughts, Dana. Thank you for sharing. Even though it’s heartbreaking when tragedies happen, I love that we can bear one another’s burdens across time and space through the Internet. I hope this boy’s family can feel that support and love from everyone who reads his story. And I’ll ditto a thanks to you for your service to your ward’s youth. I complain about my primary calling just about every week :/ cause it’s hard! But I’m so grateful that my kids get to see the examples of all those who faithfully serve every week. We are imperfect people all just striving to make it together. Hugs!!

  9. 9) Amy

    How desperately sad, I’m sorry for the loss of your whole community. There are no words, no explanation. And sometimes that makes it harder. No fault, no blame and no way to understand. I send prayers to you all, especially the young boy’s family, you are in my thoughts tonight as I hold my 2 children close. With love from the UK.

  10. 10) Elisabeth M.

    A similar loss occurred in our church community last week…a young man 24 years of age. Such a tragic loss…so sorry. Thank you for raising awareness.

  11. 11) Tina

    Hi Dana,

    Thank you for being open and sharing your heart. As Christians, we are called to serve one another. Christ is our example. It is sometimes hard to juggle everything in life, but God is always there to help. Jesus did tell us to come to him with our burdens and he will give us rest. I am preaching to myself here.

    I have followed your blog for, I think 7 years now. Your blog is so fun, entertaining, and energetic to read. I am sure this same energy blesses those who see you face to face. You have a gift and you are using it for good to touch many people.

  12. 12) Carolina

    This week it will be 8 years since my mum shot herself.
    I have been feeling absolutely awful for days now, physically, emotionally, psychologically… Every possible way.
    Thank you for sharing this post, I will read the websites you mention.
    I know I will never understand the reasons why she did what she did, but I hope I get to find some peace reading these websites.
    Your post really helped. As much, or even more, than the ones with patterns and tutorials!
    Thank you x

    • 13) Carolina

      Sorry! The main point I forgot was that I, too, had to explain to my then 6 year old daughter how a person can take their own life. xx

  13. 14) Juanita in OH

    I think it was brave of you to post this story…you, probably, will never know how many people were helped by it! I don’t think you need to feel selfish about anything, because it is all after the fact of this poor boy’s death. Death causes so much pain and sorrow and I believe the most cathartic thing one can do is to talk, talk and talk. Your post brought back so many people that I have known in my life and are no longer with us, and I am glad you made me think of them on this Labor Day weekend. Thank you for sharing.

  14. 15) Jen

    The only way I can describe it is torment… I struggled with postpartum depression sooooooo bad with my first baby. All within the first three months, it went so down hill, so fast… I was constantly tormented by something unknown, but it my mind, it was something significant. The only way I could describe it to people on the outside was like this. Imagine you are in a horror movie and it’s the middle of the day. You’re are in an open field with a small house in the middle of it and the far boundaries of the field are surrounded by trees. You know come nightfall, the demons/zombies/ghosts/living dead will come, so you hide in the house and await nightfall. The night comes and the entire night, you are constantly fighting to keep them out. Some break windows to get in. Some almost bust the door down. They should things at you that you begin to contemplate, yet somehow, you make it through the night and morning comes. All of a sudden, with the morning light, you are at complete peace and calm, knowing you made it through another night, but as the morning wears off and the afternoon wears on, you start building back up to knowing what the night will bring…

    I know everyone’s struggles are different. I almost took my own life. Had it not been for my mom calling at just the right time, I would likely not be here. She had no idea what was going on and I believe it was God’s intervention. She was just calling at a strange hour to see how my day was. Here I am, over 3 years later, a second baby here, a third on the way, and still on depression medicine. I’m not ashamed being on the medicine. I’m ashamed of how far I let it go before I really realized it was a problem. I look at the smiling, happy faces of my beautiful girls and am reminded how much they need me, how much I would have missed in these three short years, and how blessed I was to have God in my life, even through the darkest time, that using his follower, My mom, He was able to save me.

    I encourage everyone to openly talk to people about it. It’s what got me through while waiting for my medicine to kick in and lift that HUGE cloud. I realize there are people out there who believe that depression is all in your head and that if you truly believed God was the God of the universe, you wouldn’t need medicine. To them, I say, “How ignorant.” It’s not an issue of sin in their heart, or lack of faith, at least not all the time. Sometimes, things really are just off.

    I’m so sorry for the loss of Casey. I pray his family will heal, this community will rally together to support his family, and that after a time of mourning, eventually, his family will be able to move on and be left with fond memories of him. <3

    • 16) Dana

      Thank you Jen for sharing this and for your honesty. It’s so hard for those of us without those feelings to truly understand…. and I want so badly to understand. I’m so happy that you found help and medication to turn your world into a happier place. I agree that sometimes things are just “off”…and that it’s not a matter of having more faith or trying to “be” happy.
      I’m glad you could share your feelings with us.
      And I’m glad your three girls have a wonderful mom to share their lives with!

  15. 17) Deborah

    I have felt as this young man felt. Please tell everyone you love just how much you love them. Even when you are angry with them. My situation was like many others. A cheating husband, and no education to get a job to pay enough to support my children and myself. The main thing that stopped me was the fact that I didn’t want my ex-husband to raise my children. He was not a good daddy at all. And I didn’t want him to raise my children.

    • 18) Dana

      Oh I’m so sorry to hear that. I hope you’ve found more happiness in your life now.
      Thank you for sharing with us Deborah.

  16. 19) Ruth Sherrard

    Dana, my heart goes out to your community. I think you did the right thing with your daughter. I am a teacher of 11-19 year olds. It is a difficult subject at any age but I have found that it helps to talk about it especially if they ask, to break the taboo and to show that you value the person you lost with an honest discussion. Your words here are beautiful. Sending love and prayers to you all. xxxx

  17. 20) Claudia

    My thought and prayers for all those affected…because truly, no one is unaffected by this. We see this at young ages, older ages, every age. Such tremendous loss.
    Your post was so thoughtfully composed, if only we can make others listen to all the love, and not become lost in the moments of despair.. Life is so very precious, so worth living! Somehow, teach to turn a page when it’s dark and see the fresh newness of each day waiting…

  18. 21) Alona Williams

    Thanks for this post, Dana! Well said. So appreciate your support and your awesome musical number!

  19. 23) Collette

    I am so sorry for the loss your family and your community have suffered. Thank you so much for addressing this in such a compassionate way. I recently had to try to explain rape to my 8 year old. (I explained it in non-sexual terms, describing someone forcing someone to do something with their body that they didn’t want to do. Sigh.) I think that as hard as these conversations are, and the experiences that precede them, they can be such an opportunity for growth–for ourselves and our children. My thoughts and love are with the young man’s family. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  20. 24) Ginette

    This world is full of difficult situations…hang in there! My cousin recently lost his mother-in-law, and had to explain to their 12-year-old daughter what happened to Grandma… I also recently met a young woman with a 3 year old, and a 6 year old, who lost her husband to suicide 3 years ago. Sadly, these situations are far too common, and I hope all of us can contemplate how much we are loved, even if it may be hard to believe. If any of you are suffering from these negative thoughts, please get help! Also, this article may be helpful:

  21. 25) Renia

    Thank you for this post. It´s the greates loss ever…

  22. 26) Bailee

    I am so sorry to you and your ward family for your loss. You post was so sweet and made me cry. These kinds of stories help me to remember what is most important in my life. Thank you for sharing.

  23. 27) Marcie

    Just a quick note to let you know how very much your blog helped me today! Sometimes I believe one finds something so very STRONG meant to help oneself. That certainly is true for me today. THANK YOU!

    • 28) Dana

      That makes me so happy to hear. Thanks for sharing that Marcie 🙂

  24. 29) Heidi

    So sorry for the sorrow and shock and loss that your community is going through. There are just no words.

    On another note, I didn’t know that ALL ministry positions in the Mormon church were unpaid. That’s pretty incredible, and I think other Christian groups could look to that as an example.

  25. 30) Mikea

    Im sorry for the loss in your community and for his family! Im also sorry a piece of childhood innocence has been taken from Lucy. I cant even imagine having the courage to explain that to my child.

  26. A very worthwhile and thoughtfully-written post. The impulsive thing is really very interesting in trying to understand such situations. Thanks for sharing.

  27. 32) Rebecca

    I’ve been a long time reader, Dana, and find it timely that you speak of suicide when my brother took his own life one week ago. My family and I believe that it was not pre-meditated. We wish we could have helped him. Your post feels very honest and correct to me. Thank you for sharing.

    • 33) Dana

      Oh Rebecca, I’m so very sorry 🙁
      I’m heartbroken for you. I hope that time call heal the wounds more for you and your family.
      Big hugs and prayers for you.

  28. 34) Janine R

    I am not a mormon, but I am an evangelical Christian and I think I can shed some insight having struggled with depression .You feel overwhelmed with pain that seems as though it will not ever end. If you manage to tell someone in your church what you are struggling with, you are shown the verse in Phillipians that says Be anxious for nothing… and made to feel if you just confess that sin, pray a little more, have more faith,etc all will be well with you. Of course, going to see a psychologist, psychiatrist, taking an anti depressant is out of the question as it is seen as a moral failure. So you say nothing, put on your best fake smile at church and one day, when the pain becomes unbearable, you listen to the voice of the enemy who whispers why not end it, the world would be a better place with you gone and besides, no one really cares. And that is when you end it. Contrary to popular belief, even Christians sometimes commit suicide. Our churches need to acknowledge that depression and mental illness are just as much a disease as cancer and diabetes. Only then will this stop.

    • 35) Dana

      Thank you for sharing this Janine.
      And yes, I agree. Depression and other issues that can lead to suicide are just as important to address as cancer and the many health related problems we talk openly about. Our church does not shun people for having depression or for taking medication, but we truly try to offer help and a Christlike hand. We want others to feel welcome and to feel loved. I’m sorry you’re experienced negative feelings in the Christian community. Thanks for being honest and for sharing with us.

  29. 36) Dayna Harper

    I think you wrote this post beautifully. I was so shocked and saddened to hear about the news of this kind young man. I can’t remember a time not seeing him without a smile on his face. Many prayers to his family at this time. It makes me reflect on what I can do to serve others more and to reach out to those who may need it.

  30. 37) Denice

    Thank you for a beautiful post on a truly difficult part of life.

  31. 38) mallorie

    So sorry your family is going through this, Dana. A family friend of ours took his own life this past May; he had just turned 20. We weren’t that close to him, but had memories of him as he grew up, and lots of time spent with his family. It was SO difficult to process his death and no one knew why he did it. The only saving grace for us and our kids, was that at first, we didn’t know exactly how he had died, so we didn’t have to have that hard talk with them. We simply explained that he had died and that we weren’t sure how.
    No one can be sure, but his youth leaders felt that he knew the Lord, and that he is in Heaven now. That brought us great comfort.
    Sadly, that same week, a well loved coworker of my husband’s, passed away from a sudden heart attack. He was the office comedian, an older gentleman who had been with the company forever, and always made everyone laugh. The hardest part of his passing was that we have no reason to think that he knew the Lord, as he didn’t attend church and never spoke about God. This was really disheartening and convicting to us. We had discussed visiting him in the hospital and trying to share the Gospel message with him, but he passed before we were able to go. It certainly was a wake up call to us that no one is promised a tomorrow and that we are here on Earth for a purpose, to do important work, not just to entertain ourselves with what life has to offer and what money can buy. I will be praying for your family and your community during this sad time. Thank you for sharing this with us, and being so real.

  32. 39) Dzintra

    oh Dana! You are a part of the big life while You are blogging, too! So inspiring artist and so talented writer. I never knew You belong to Mormon church – sorry if it sounds rude, being middleaged EasternEuropean and living in post-sovietic country, I am maybe too sceptical about practising any kind of religion – but I always found You some kind of gifted by God (is this expression correct?) and Your work beautiful. And being sometimes too depressed myself I often found some inspiration in Really. Thank You for that post, too.
    Be strong. We all are creatures of God, His children and His servants, we can say. But being little selfish und practising our own businesses (and serving Him that way) may also do good to all of us, time to time.

  33. Dana, this is so very sad but your thoughts and words so very beautiful and heartfelt. Thank you for sharing in this public way as awareness is so important and may well help others.
    I am a long-time follower, but don’t often comment. I just had to leave some hugs today.
    Love and Hugs to you and yours,

  34. 41) Sue Wagner

    My 17-year-old granddaughter ended her life last September, which left us all reeling. Reading about impulsive suicide helps a little, since that’s kind of what we’d come to the conclusion that she did. She would never have left us in so much pain if she’d thought ahead, and telling your daughter about suicide is one more ripple in the wave of tragedy. Thank you for your post.

  35. This is beautiful, Dana. So difficult and tragic. Sounds like you are handling it with Lucy in the absolute best way possible. How sweetly you describe your service and the opportunities the Mormon congregation provides to serve one another. Your ward is blessed to have you. I know you are an inspiration to the youth, in so many ways, but also in how you balance it all: your family, your faith, your service and your incredible creative drive. I hope the month gets sunnier. XOXO

  36. 43) Marilyn

    Sorry for your loss.

  37. 44) Courtney

    This weeks cause on is suicide prevention. There are some really beautiful shirts for sale with a percentage of the proceeds going to suicide prevention awareness.
    As a youth leader in my church this breaks my heart and along with another recent teen suicide I read about, it really raises my awareness for “my kids”.. Thank you for sharing on such a tough topic. One that is sadly becoming so common.

  38. 45) Andréa Pereira Simões Pelogi

    I’m sorry for your loss.
    It is very sad to see a young man taking his own life.
    A friendly hug from Brazil

  39. 46) Connie

    So sad and very well written Dana. My prayers for you and that young man’s family.

  40. In the past 3 months, this is the second blog that I follow along with that has posted about a seemingly happy person take their own life and I’m just so sad for it.

    A few years ago, I went to an art workshop where one of the ladies was painting dragonflies because they connected her to her daughter who had committed suicide. I’m not particularly friendly with this woman but now whenever I see a dragonfly I think of her daughter. And now this other persons brother. And now I add your young man to my thoughts.

    There just aren’t enough words to express my sorrow for you and your community. You all are in my prayers.

  41. Thank you so much for sharing! It always breaks my heart when I have to teach or share a hard subject with my children. But it is important to talk about these hard things! I send my love to this dear family. And I admire their openness. I hope everyone, especially our youth remember how much we are loved.

  42. This is such a beautiful post. Prayers for you and the family of the young man.

  43. Aching for you and yours, Dana! So very sorry to read of your community’s loss . . .

  44. 51) Mo

    My condolences for the loss of someone so beloved in your community. I can’t help but wonder how a person who was seemingly so well-adjusted, would feel that he couldn’t go on any longer. Suicide is also something that’s typically contemplated for some time, after exhausting other options. Did he leave a note for his parents with an explanation for his final action? Is it possible that perhaps he was in the closet, and felt that he would never be accepted as his true self, and therefore had “no choice” but to self-terminate because he couldn’t go on living a lie? Obviously, I know nothing of this young man, but if this wiki entry is correct (, this speculation may not be too far-fetched…and I’m probably not the only person who’s come up with this as a possible reason.

    I apologize if this conjecture might cause any extra pain, but I personally believe that honesty and transparency–while difficult for many–ultimately serves us best life. I’ve never met or heard of a repressed person who was joyful and liberated, so perhaps this dark episode was meant to give people pause into their own lives, and the secrets that they keep that cause more harm than “good.”

    • 52) Dana

      I don’t believe that that was the issue here. Of course no one of will know. But thank you for sharing. I’m sure some people do feel that way, and it’s sad to think that they don’t feel accepted for being honest and for being themselves.

  45. 53) Hennahands

    If it makes you feel any better, I have had this conversation with my (then) 8 year old as well. Then we dived into the murky moral world of assisted suicide. It was a difficult conversation, much more so than the one about human sexuality. But I guess that’s essence of parenthood; the insanely difficult conversations contrasted with the adorable giggles of childhood.

  46. 54) ConnieG

    Dana, thank you for sharing this painful time with us, reminding us that any one of us can be carrying a hidden hurt/sorrow and we need to remember to be kind and gentle with each other.

  47. In my experience, it helps to discuss it openly like you did with Lucy. I did have a psychologist help with this issue once for a neighbor’s 16 y/o daughter (the psychologist was a neighbor too). I too felt guilt like “Why didn’t I see it coming? Were there warning signs I missed? On those occasions I did see something did my decision not to be a busy-body and tell her parents what I had seen prevent them from some intervention?” etc. She said that it’s all about the victim’s choices. What ever the issue at hand was, there were many choices the victim had to handle the situation but for some reason, they chose the one that was so final and they are the only one responsible for that choice. As we talked, she encouraged me to list out the choices myself that could have been a course of action so I could literally see for myself the choices that were available to her. She then discussed how no one is responsible for the choice that was made except for the victim herself. When someone is intent on suicide, impulsive or not, suicidal ideations are not natural and while an external intervention may stop the issue temporarily, many times they don’t just go away. No one should feel guilt about the choice that was made or beat themselves up in hindsight. While sad, we can just pray for the family in their grief.

  48. 56) Sara

    I finally had a moment to sit down and read this. My eyes are wet and I feel overwhelmed with gratitude and sadness. The more we talk about suicide and mental illness the better. Thank you for writing this all out

  49. 57) Stephanie

    Thinking of you and your extended family. Praying for you all.

  50. 58) Jenn

    Life isn’t always full of fabric and happy times. It’s good to acknowledge both sides of life. Thank you for being honest. Of the years I’ve been following your blog I think this was my favorite post. Find something good out of this tragedy.

  51. 59) Mrs.P

    As a mama who struggled with postpartum depression I know very well the struggle. It as if life has become a black and white picture. All the joy and happiness get sucked out of life and everything turns shades of grey. You get up every morning and go through the motions, existing, surviving but not living. Some days it feels as if the air is made of pudding. You spend your day struggling through the smallest things and end up so very exhausted. There are days all you want to do is sleep, but know that laying in bed will just cause your thoughts to churn and sleep to slip through your grasp. The voices in your head whisper terrible awful things and eventually you start to believe them. You’re a bad mother, you’re un-loveable, you can’t even keep the house clean, you’re a burden to your husband… and then the visions. Violent vicious daydreams that come unbidden, like short horror films you’re being forced to watch.
    Luckily my family and doctor recognized my struggle and saw through the fake smile I pasted on every day. It took over a year but I got help. I fought against medication fearing it would fix things too much, like when someone turns the saturation up too high on a picture. When I finally relented it was more like someone put training wheels on my life. I still wobbled and fell every so often but it wasn’t a daily cycle of wiping out and trying to pick myself back up and try to keep living.
    I have been in the dark place where the voices taunt me and whisper that the struggle could go away. But I have strategies to help and I am on the mend. For the first time in almost 3 years I feel like myself…most of the time.
    I try to be open and honest and upfront about my PPD. When I was diagnosed I just kept thinking I was broken, that this didn’t happen to “people like me”. I am a university grad, with a post graduate degree and mother to three. I attend church and am active in my community. Nice people don’t get depressed…until they do.
    Thank you for bringing this issue to the forefront. The more we talk the smaller the stigma gets. It can hit anyone, any time, anywhere. And the hardest thing in the world is to ask for help…

  52. 60) Dana

    What honest helpful thoughts. Thank you for sharing that with us. I’m sure it’s hard to share those details, but you’re right…the more we talk about it, the more we help other people who are feeling the same.

  53. 61) Kate

    I probably wasn’t much older than your Lucy when I found my mom sobbing into my dad’s shoulder in our living room. A family friend had killed himself. My parents were gently honest with me and talked about how sick depression had made our friend. It was hard to imagine how the seemingly happy father who taught my little brother not to be afraid of putting his head underwater could feel so sad and alone. While it was a lot for me to take in (as I’m sure it was with your daughter), it became a significant moment in my life because it allowed me early on to develop empathy for those suffering with depression (including me, eventually) and never to dismiss suicide as “selfish” or “completely preventable.” So, yes, some innocence was lost that afternoon, but the increased compassion gained makes me grateful for my parents’ honesty.

    And thanks for the perspective on all the hours spent on callings in YW. I’ve definitely been more grumbly about that lately than I should be.

  54. 63) Pam

    What a heartbreak. Thank you for talking so openly about this. I think it is no coincidence that my pastor spoke on this very subject this Sunday. It seems that people don’t choose to end their life, they choose to end their pain. Let’s all look for hurting words, faces, messages and signals that the ones around us send out and ask, “Are you okay?” Let us all try to be the light in an ever darkening world. It is amazing how much pain you can see if you just look for it. Have a blessed day.

  55. 64) Corey

    I am so sorry for the loss of your young friend. And of course so sad for his family and his church family. Thank you for writing about this. We had an almost identical suicide here in our small town. A boy, the same age, with a lot of friends, a wonderful and loving family, who was loved by his community and his church. I had not heard the term impulsive suicide before and maybe your blog post will inform others and give them the courage to have those really hard conversations with the young people in their lives.

  56. This is truly sad. It seems to be widespread nowadays and we should talk more openly about this so it isn’t a social stigma anymore. I know myself I have uttered those words “I want to die” but thankfully through much prayer and trust in God that I can overcome those times and as much as people can seem outwardly happy there can be sadness deep inside. Thanks for sharing this. I will keep him and his family in my prayers.

  57. 66) Stephanie C

    Dana, I just wanted to say thank you for this post. I have a family member who recently lost her ex husband a few weeks ago in a similar situation. It has devastated her family. She had to explain to her 2 older children that their former step dad whom they adored had chosen to leave this life. Her oldest is 10. The next is 7 or 8, I believe. And of course, her youngest, who is not quite 3, she had to tell her that her daddy, whom she worshiped was never coming home again in this life. Her daughter still really doesn’t understand. And this wonderful mother, who has 3 hurting children, has not even really been able to grieve his loss.

    This situation is tragic, and it’s easy to feel helpless. Rather than giving in to those feelings, maybe we can try to help those in our family and those we may come into contact with through the YW and YM youth groups in church to understand that these are very final decisions and can’t be taken back. That this is never the answer. And hopefully, to help them understand that by attempting to end their own pain, they are causing immeasurable pain to all those who love and care for them.

    I will keep this young man and his family in my prayers. I hope his family is able to find some measure of comfort knowing they will see him again some day, even if the pain overshadows that hope for a bit.

    I am sure that your post will bring comfort to others who may have gone through a similar situation, just knowing that there are others who understand some amount of their pain and confusion.

    Please don’t feel guilty about your thoughts of being spread thin. We all have them at one time or another. That’s just a trial of attitude, in my opinion. It shows that we’re doing a lot and we may need a different perspective now and then, but you’re definitely making a difference in someone’s life.

    Thank you, again for your post. It was beautifully written and I can just feel the pure love you have for God and the love and compassion you have for this young man and his family. God bless you!

  58. 67) Linda DuBos

    I read your post on the day it showed up in my email and it has taken me this long to respond. I am a mother that lost her youngest son to suicide. He was no longer a child. He was 31 years old. Although he’s been gone for five years the memories of that day are as fresh today as they were on December 18, 2010.

    For two years prior to his death he struggled with debilitating depression. He received inpatient treatment. All the right words were said but when you’re in that deep dark place, the “right words” mean nothing. All you see is a dark, gray colorless world. All hope has been lost, all joy erased – even when you show the world a smiling face, its just the mask you want them to see.

    I traveled with my son on this long and difficult journey. And although it was hardest thing I thought I would ever face, I am glad that we made the journey together.

    My son began life as the golden child. He was every mother’s dream child. He was greatly loved and admired. When you were with him, he made you feel as though you were the most important person in the world. He loved God, he loved this earth, and he loved his fellow man. He had a special love for the elderly and reached out to help them in any way he could.

    In his last letter to me he said that the choice to end his life was his alone. There was no one to blame. He said that he knew some might think his action selfish but that he could live no longer with the unending pain. He ask that I accept his decision even though he realized that his choice would probably not be understood. He went on to tell me how much he loved me and what a good and dedicated mother I had been. He ask me to tell his brother and sisters and his many friends how much he loved them and how they had touched his heart. He also said that he would be watching over us and if we ever needed him he would be here.

    And you know what? He does. I believe in life everlasting and in a just and loving God.

    Is my heart broken, has my life been shattered, am I bruised and broken? oh yes, yes. I will never be the person I was before his passing. His children, his brother and sisters have been impacted forever. But when you are being swallowed up by depression, you are not thinking about those things. You are only thinking about ending the pain and going on to a place without pain, without hurt, and without anger. You are looking for peace and a place of love. My son has found that place.

  59. 68) Jill

    Thank you so much for sharing this.

  60. 69) valerie kilgore

    This was my first time to your website. Sewing lessons and creative, craft ideas are common to the internet. What you gave was rare and from your heart. Thank you. May God continue to bless you and your family.

  61. 70) Elisabeth

    In the same way it is hard for a person who has never had cancer to understand what it is like to be a cancer patient, it is hard for people who have never experienced depression to understand what it is like to be depressed. And, a depressed person is often incapable of explaining how they feel. The best I can describe it is like this: take the worst you have ever felt, emotionally. Maybe you lost your dream job and you’re afraid you won’t be able to feed your family. Maybe a loved one died. Whatever it was, imagine that the feeling you felt then and the very worst point in your life, and then imagine that feeling goes on, not just for days, but for weeks, months, and even years. And nothing seems to make it feel better. Even things that used to make you happy cannot make you feel even the tiniest bit better. Every once in awhile, you have a good day and then you plunge back into that terrible feeling. The world around you literally looks a little gray. Maybe food doesn’t taste the same, either. You find it hard to get out of bed. You start to wonder why you even bother getting out of bed because nothing good will happen after getting out of bed and at least if you are in bed, you don’t have to try to pretend you are alright.

    Because, you are aware of the stigma. You know people want you to just snap out of it. You know people think there’s plenty in your life to be happy about. *You* know there is plenty to be happy about. But, it doesn’t matter, because you quite literally cannot feel happy (this is called anhedonia and is one of the key symptoms of depression). So, you smile and try to look like everything is okay so people stop telling you crap that doesn’t help. You smile because you know that a lot of people think that you’re “just feeling sorry for yourself” and that you could “pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you really wanted to.” You get so good at faking not being depressed that most people actually don’t know that you are depressed. But the pain doesn’t stop. It is like a horrible, bleeding sore that never gets any better. And, it gets so hard to do anything beyond what you need to do to live–eat, sleep, go to work. (In fact, at one point, I was so depressed that, when my therapist asked me if I felt suicidal, I said, “Honestly, that just sounds like too much work.” It seemed ridiculous to me that one could be so depressed that killing yourself seemed like too much effort, but my therapist told me that it is apparently common and even that sometimes people become “just better enough” that they are able to try to kill themselves before they can become better enough to not want to kill themselves.)

    I was one of the lucky ones. I got help and medication worked for me (it doesn’t work for everybody–there’s such a thing as treatment-resistant depression). But, beyond that, I was lucky because, even when I was at rock bottom and had to choose between going to live with relatives and checking myself into a hospital, I never wanted to kill myself. I don’t know why. And, that’s the thing, psychologists and psychiatrists can’t tell you why some people attempt suicide and some never consider it. You can have someone who has been so depressed they start to have episodes of psychosis who never even thinks of killing themselves and someone who is mildly depressed who is consumed with thoughts of suicide. And there are people who attempt suicide over and over and over and people who attempt it once, live, and can’t explain why they tried to kill themselves and never attempt it again.

    So, it’s important to talk to have these conversations about suicide because you never know who it may help. The person who always has a smile and a joke to share may be suffering from pain so deep they don’t know if they can stand another day of it. The person who admits to being a tiny bit depressed might think about killing themselves at least three times a day.

    It’s terrible and tragic that people suffer in this way and that they don’t see another way out. And, it’s so very heartbreaking to the people who are left behind. I will say, though, that, while I wish they were able to find a way to keep on going, many times, I can’t begrudge the people who do end their lives. I have hit absolute bottom and felt that horrible pain, so I know how bad it can be. And, I can’t blame people who go through that for years and years, people for whom no treatment ever helps, and decide that they would rather not live with that pain anymore. It’s rather like people with terminal cancer who choose to die by taking a pill instead of waiting until the disease takes them after they have spent weeks in a morphine daze that barely touches the pain and their body finally fails. It isn’t the choice I would make, but I can’t hold it against a person if they decide that’s the right choice for them.

  62. 71) Lonnie

    I just found you this week. I am making a pillow for a friend (with her deceased mother’s lovely handkerchief appliqued on it) and need help thinking it through. I found your pillow video and watched it several times. Your cheerful manner is welcoming and even though I watched several others, when it was time (today) to make the pillow I went back to you, but this time I went to your blog as well, as I wanted to see more of who you are since I felt like we had become acquainted even if it was a one sided relationship.
    And so I saw your blog about your young friend who is no longer with you. One of my closest friends, who lives with me, had a brother who just took his life also just this week. He was 63. We had another young man, 19, last year die of a drug overdose. He hadn’t intended to die, which made it harder. I kept thinking of what he may have felt (or realized) ‘on the other side’.
    Those who commit suicide do not realize what it does to those they leave behind. We can only trust in God who will, we pray, make sense of it all in the end. My heart and prayer goes out to you and your community, Dana, and his family. Jesus (or was it Paul?) said death is an enemy. Thank God for the Resurrection. Hopefully that young man somehow had put his trust in Jesus who is the Savior of the world. Blessings upon you, Dana. I look forward to more of your blogs and your sewing advice. It’s nice to see your very photogenic daughter – and what is probably your good photography.

  63. 72) Karaline

    Wait, you are Mormen? That I did not know!

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