May 17, 2018 – The day my world changed in a terrible way.
We are 9 days shy of the day Darren passed away. This past year has been hard, to say the least. We lost someone dear to us, but we also gained someone dear to us. It’s been a year of a thousand tears, bad dreams, unanswered questions, and memories flooding my mind.
Remember, a while back I posted that I have 17 years worth of photographs of Darren that I couldn’t bear to look at. My heart just couldn’t take it. Well, I still have yet to look at them. I have the ones in my room (where I spend a majority of my time) that I see daily and the ones that pop up in my newsfeed on FB and the ones I keep reposting because I can’t bear to add new ones, but I cannot look at my photo albums. I look at the photographs in my room only to see what will never be, the life that he should have lived as an adult that will never come to fruition. Don’t get me wrong, those photos present a ton of good memories of him, but they are also testament that his life will never proceed past the age of 17. We were robbed of that!
Now, almost a year later, I look at how much has changed, how much I have changed. Of course, we have the physical changes in our environment, the changes in which we cannot see him, we can no longer hear his voice, or witness his beautiful smile. Then there are the changes within myself. The lack of sleep. The constant dreams. The plaguing unanswered questions. The uncertainties about life and what it all means. The lack of trust that has invaded my mind concerning his father, most certainly law enforcement and especially the court system (family court as well as juvenile court) — those him failed my son.
However, the change that I hope will have the most impact was taking the giant leap out of my comfort zone and into the nonprofit world. For many years, I wanted to do something with my life that went beyond myself and my family. However, my family always came first. Sure I delved into one fleeting interest after another, but – for the most part – I repeated the same interests in intermittent spurts. These interests have included quilting, photography, scrap-booking and spur-of-the-moment day trips here or there (this always included the kiddos). After losing Darren to suicide, suicide prevention became my passion, my cause. A friend and I founded DJW Life Project, a suicide prevention nonprofit organization. Much of my son is incorporated throughout the organization from the name we chose to the logo we use to represent who we are and to some of the images we use as well as the slogan we attach to just about everything.
Changes have always been hard for me, but this was one change I needed to make and jumped into with both feet. Failure is not an option because no matter how far we go (in number of years or money raised) we will have accomplished the thing we are trying to accomplish – To help at least one family to not have to go through the tragedy that mine has gone through. if we can help just one family then we will have succeeded.
So, the next biggest part of May 17th is the Darren’s Voice event that we are hosting. It will be a hard day all around, but hopefully there will be joy as well. If you’re out and about, we hope you will join us at Christ the King for an evening of fun for the whole family beginning at 4:30pm. Bring yourselves, your children, your family and your friends to enjoy the evening, but also to support suicide prevention in the small community that we live in.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
– Mahatma Ghandi
~ Shannon ~