On the night of Tuesday April 28, 2009 our son died by suicide. As the shock lifted we began the agonizing process of trying to comprehend our new reality. Our 23-year old son had lived with a robust disease that had been brewing for years. He was a strong, intelligent young man; however, even he could not see where his path was headed. Mental illness is a formidable foe. Our tragedy is his absence from our ordinary lives. We are now referred to as survivors. What exactly we are surviving is unclear. We are broken in so many places; trying to put the puzzle that was our life back together. Only now, the pieces do not match.
Lynn Keane is an author and former broadcast journalist. Since the sudden passing of her son Daniel in 2009, Keane has dedicated her life to sharing her family’s story, educating about the underlying causes of depression and the importance of treating mental illness. Her work has been featured in The National Post, The Globe & Mail, CBC, CTV and TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin. She has spoken about mental health and suicide prevention throughout North America - from the White House Minority Mental initiative to TedX and mental health symposiums in between. Through advocacy, an open approach, and working with mental health professionals and organizations, Keane has become a highly respected voice on depression and suicide prevention.
Why didn't you answer our calls that night? We couldn't figure out why you hadn't come home for dinner. When did you last think about your family that terrible night? Did you consider, even for a moment, that our lives would be a living hell after you were gone? Why didn't you tell us that you hated who you had become? You had lost hope. Despite all of the good in your life, I think there was a layer of fear and uncertainty that left you adrift.
09/26/2016 11:09 EDT
Our lives have been irrevocably impacted by the loss of our son; a grief that is almost impossible to put into words. Stigma in part prevented our son from seeking support which would have perhaps led him to understand that his depression was the result of many factors. We cannot change our history but as survivors of suicide loss we can channel our grief into changing lives. We can be part of ending stigma forever and be a force in the evolving suicide prevention conversation. As a country we can move from awareness to action and saving lives. In my son's honour I will continue to advocate for youth suicide prevention so other families' understand what our family could not.
09/19/2016 11:35 EDT
For months now we have been like detectives trying to make sense of the senseless. In the midst of our pain we are sorting out his life. Professionals have told us that we are mourning the loss of two sons -- the Daniel we cherished and the Daniel who lived with depression. He carried his hurt so well we were unable to help him. Our aching hearts do not understand as yet what our thoughtful minds are telling us. Daniel paid the ultimate price for his depression and now we are forced to live in a world without him.
09/12/2016 04:37 EDT
Life is for the living. In the years to come you will wake thinking about your son and not his suicide. In accepting loss, your mind will search for memories of life before depression and suicide became part of your lexicon. There will be much work to do in your son's name and in support of youth suicide prevention.
09/10/2015 08:13 EDT
The hard reality is that we are now a family of four -- not five. We know that our lives will never be the same, but we have found meaningful ways to remember our old life with our son. And that does provide comfort, even peace on the harder days. The pain is never far from the surface. We get on: one step forward and two backwards.
02/22/2015 11:02 EST
What were the signs? This question is one that I find myself still struggling to answer five years after my son's suicide. Could the changes we notice be part of our kids' reactions to the pressures we place on them as well as the pressures they heap on themselves?
06/02/2014 05:28 EDT
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