September is Suicide Prevention Month. The nation, if not the world, was shaken and shocked by funny guy, Robin Williams, tragic death last month, but I think his death is serving a greater purpose to get us talking about the disease that affects more people than we'd like to admit. Why can't we talk about it, honestly and openly? Every time I meet someone new and start to get to know them eventually the question comes up "How did your mom die?" Mostly I think they expect me to say she had cancer or was in a car accident, but when I reply that she committed suicide the conversation usually stops there. Suicide and depression are still taboo and shameful in our culture with varying opinions across the board about whether it is "real."
What I can tell you about my experience with a beautiful, vibrant, creative, passionate, loving mother who suffered with depression and ultimately committed suicide when she had a 14, 12 and 5 year old kids she loved with all her heart, is IT IS REAL. I fear if we continue to not talk about it, push it under the rug, not acknowledge it as legitimate disease that affects comedians, mothers, fathers, soldiers, veterans, teenagers, the elderly, the lgbt community, and everyone else who lives in the painful aftermath of the loss of a loved one, it will continue to plague our global community.
Just because my mother took her own life does not mean she was a bad person. I refuse to let her be remembered by the way that she left this world, but in the way that she lived and loved. I hope that everyone I get the chance to talk to about her gets to know her in a small way. That she was an incredible seamstress who made nearly all of my dresses and costumes as a kid. She had an infectious laugh, she dedicated her life to her kids and was involved in everything we did, including learning the play the fiddle with my brother Mead Turner when he was 5. She loved the holidays and went above and beyond to make them special every year. She had a my brother, Blake, when I was 10 so I remember the intense joy he brought her in giving her her ultimate purpose and highest calling in life as a mother. I know she lives on through the smiles, laughter and creative energies of my brothers and me. She will not be forgotten.
Please tell you story, listen to someone else's, pay attention to the signs of depression and don't ignore friends and family when they are suffering. Even if you aren't depressed or affected by depression there is so much wisdom, healing and practical knowledge to glean from This Podcast by The Shawn Stevenson Model. Let's get real about this serious issue.
Much love, Jenn