I used to always think, “How horrible!  Thank goodness this will never happen to me.”  Sure, my kids have special needs, but we love and cuddle and communicate with them.  Our kids tell us everything.  We know the warning signs.  We can intervene to help.  We can get them counseling, meds, whatever they need.  We would never let this happen to our kids.

Then January 14th happened.  The world stopped.  Everything we knew was wrong, or misguided, or just so small and inconsequential.  One minute, he was laughing and singing with his girlfriend and telling me he would see me later.  The next–I was at his bedside, hoping and praying that this was just a bad dream, and I would wake up any moment–or he would wake up any moment, grab my hand and tell me he was sorry.  Neither moment has ever come.

January 15, 2016.  We made a decision that no parent should ever have to make.

10:14pm.  Micah’s soul is with my parents and grandparents.  Micah’s body is on its way to donate life-giving kidneys to two needy recipients.  Micah’s parents and sister’s and friends’ hearts are irreparably torn in two.

#SuicideAwareness and #SuicidePrevention are more than memes or copy-and-paste social media posts to me.  They are the warning signs that I did not see.  They are the problems that I thought would never be mine.  They are now a cause that I know far too personally, far too well.

For 10 months, I have fought a daily battle to make anything else in the world make sense. Every morning, I wake up and try to pull myself together to go on.  Most mornings I’m successful, some I’m not.   Some days I can go to an ice rink and announce or keep score and I’m okay–and some days just watching the goalie skate out to his net from the bench makes me think of Micah’s kick-step and glide towards his net.  Some mornings I can put on random tracks from my music library and be fine–and some mornings, Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story from Hamilton is the first track to play, and I’m lost.

I know Cynthia and Avi have gone through their own daily rituals and troubles.  There are still things I can’t say in front of them–I just can’t bear to make them cry, to trigger their sorrow and depression.  So, I blog–or I just hold it in.  I know I shouldn’t, but given the choice of hurting someone else I love or just dealing with it, I just deal with it.

In my email right now is a simple image–a proof of Micah’s headstone.  I’ve had it waiting in my email since Tuesday morning.  I need to sign off on it so they can begin its creation.  Its creation.

Creation of the marker of its end.
Creation of a slab of granite that shows where he lies,
Where his body rests,
Where we can visit,
Where we can cry,
Where we can remember.

It still sits.  Perhaps tomorrow I will find the strength to sign off on it, and move towards the final step of the first year of grieving–the “unveiling” or dedication of his monument, of his headstone, of his marker.

The first year of grieving…

I’m only 45.

The first year of grieving…

He would have been just 17 in February.

The first year of grieving…

When do you stop grieving, missing your child?  This is not a tournament that he will come back from.  This is not a weekend out of town with a friend.  This is not his first romantic trip with his girlfriend, his fiancée, his wife.  The short version is you don’t.  You won’t.  You can’t.  Every 37 that I see, every choir that performs, every goalie striding towards his net…

Would you like to make a difference?

Easy: Spread the words — #SuicideAwareness #SuicidePrevention.  Take a stand in favor of helping those, especially kids, with mental illness.  Don’t let the bureaucrats defund behavioral health programs.  Make them spend more — and save more.

More challenging: Make a contribution to help prevent other parents and families from suffering the same loss.  Donate to Micah’s team for the Out of the Darkness Phoenix Area Walk on Sunday, December 11th.  Help me raise funds to raise awareness.

Most challenging: Donate, sure, but come join our team and walk with us in Micah’s memory on December 11th.  It’s nice to give a “Like” on Facebook or Twitter, but show us–show Micah the love by walking with us on December 11th.  If the link doesn’t give you the information, send me a message–and I’ll figure out how you register to join us.

Thank you,

David

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