This fall, my cousin’s son ended his battle with depression by taking his life. He was 17.
I never got the chance to meet Jordan even though he was part of my family, he lived in Ontario. But my heart still breaks over his death. My heart breaks for his parents who were by his side through it all. My heart aches for his siblings who will have an empty spot for the rest of their lives. My heart aches for his grandparents, my mom’s sister, who will always look across the yard, hoping to catch a glimpse of one of ‘their’ kids. My heart aches for his aunts and uncles, my cousins, who knew him so well and loved him so much. My heart aches for his church community, his classmates, who will always miss him.
During Jordan’s funeral, Chris and his wife, Christy, Jordan’s parents, read the eulogy. I wish I could’ve been there to show that he mattered and that they matter to us, even across the miles. They shared what they read via social media and I find such peace in their words. Their message is not a new message, it is as old as the ages, but it the midst of such loss, these words have such strength and impact. I pray they don’t fall on deaf ears.
“Friday night we were waken by a call from Jordan’s lifelines, “Jordan is planning something really bad at the factory.” I frantically searched 23 acres of black warehouse on a bike with a light from a cell phone, calling out “Jordan, Jordan, Jordan, Jordan” over and over, it echoed throughout in the warehouse. I went up to the second floor and then on the roof, calling out in the dark night, across the town of Alymer “Jordan, Jordan, Jordan” over and over. He could hear me but he made the choice not to respond. It is the same in each of our lives, Our heavenly Father calls out to each and everyone of us by name. He calls us to live under His conditional Grace and Love. We may chose not to answer, but He keeps calling and reaching out. No matter what we have done, will do, or in what broken way we find ourself. I repeat He offers forgiveness and unconditional love. I forgive Jordan, too, one part of his mind was not thinking clearly, and so I ask you to forgive him, too…. the same way the God asks us to forgive others. Don’t numb your life to God’s calling with the distractions of life, turn down the volume and listen for His voice. Take long quiet walks and sit in stillness to hear His voice.”
I have never truly understand depression and I still don’t, I don’t think we ever really will. But through this tragedy, I see and understand more. Jordan had a strong faith and trust in God, but, sadly, the demons of depression spoke louder. It’s hard for those of us who don’t fight the battle of depression and mental illness to grasp how life can get to that point. Jordan was getting help, he wasn’t fighting this alone, he had a team of support but it was still too much.
Jordan’s dad, my cousin Chris, put together THIS VIDEO about Jordan. I see the crowd of people who cared about Jordan. I see the line of cars down the road. I see the lights of the Chinese lanterns. It’s too late for Jordan to see what an impact he had on the lives of the people he lived, worked and played with, but maybe, it’s not too late for you or for someone you know fighting this battle. Reach out, I’m begging you. Talk to someone if this is your battle. And if you know someone is fighting their own battle, reach out to them. Please, talk about what’s going on. Seek help, no matter how hard it might be. You are worth fighting for. There are people who love you and care about you. You don’t have to fight this alone.
I’m not telling this story to garner your sympathy. I’m telling this story because sometimes through someone’s pain, we see a clearer view of ourselves. It isn’t easy talking about the hard stuff….depression, suicide, mental illness and death. But the time is NOW to seek help, or to reach out to a friend or family member you know is struggling. Life is precious and all too often, much too short.
To be continued,