If you’re a living, breathing human you don’t need to know the actual statistic to know that a lot of people attempt or die from suicide every minute of every day. You also don’t have to have lost someone you know to suicide to “know” the pain and devastation that it leaves to those left behind. On Saturday, November 14, 2020, we walked in the ‘Out of Darkness’ walk sponsored but he American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The walk is held annually all around the Country to help bring awareness and prevention to the horrifying epidemic.
Last year, the walk was held on September 14, 2019…just one month after my precious son died. A small group of people who love Caleb dearly stepped up and walked in honor of their friend. At this point, there was so much shock and confusion over what we were all experiencing and it was incredibly painful to manage our feelings and emotions, so I am so proud of them for doing the walk for their friend they were missing so much. So, literally, step by step this group of people who had just lost a very close friend took part in an experience that they never imagined they would or have to for their friend, Caleb. I could not look at the pictures they took, I did not want to hear about what they were doing, I couldn’t even imagine showing my face at such a place so soon after his death and I couldn’t even say the word ‘suicide’ for several months. Not because I was hiding or pretending that it didn’t happen, but because the state of shock was so incredible that putting the words Caleb + suicide together, was just impossible.
So how did I get from not even being able to say the word to participating in the walk on November 14, 2020? A lot of hard work and therapy made it possible. I started therapy within two weeks of Caleb’s passing and continued for more than one year. With three different counselors who specialize in trauma and EMDR Therapy, I was able to get the help I needed and learn how to keep physically living after such a devastating tragedy. I wouldn’t have been able to walk in this walk without getting help. I wouldn’t be able to participate in life with my husband and daughters without getting help. I wouldn’t be able to do anything, literally anything, without getting help. What do I mean by help? Talking to someone who specializes in trauma therapy, grief and PTSD. Allowing strangers into my head was not something I ever thought I would do, but it was and still is, absolutely necessary for me. With life comes tragedies, with loving comes grief and with living comes losses. Pushing the pain down, drowning your sorrows, ignoring and/or pretending that your pain is not real, or that you can deal with it yourself, will wear you out in every way possible. YOU are a big deal around here! If you have any mental struggles, life circumstances that have you in pain or a great loss that you can’t come to terms with, please seek help. I am proof that it works. Yes, it sucks. Yes, it’s hard work. Yes, it’s painful. Yes, it is NOT fun. Yes, it may be hard to admit that you need help, but YOU are a big deal around here and the people that love you, need you. Get help for yourself and get help for them. If you don’t even know where to start, start by telling someone you trust that you need help.
When we decided that we wanted to make a team in honor of Caleb, we also wanted to have shirts made. I already had the logo for my non profit created, but we needed a phrase to go on the back of the shirts. It didn’t take my husband long to come up with it. Caleb would often say to people he hadn’t known very long, “I don’t know if you know this or not yet, but I’m kinda a big deal around here.” He said it with charm and silliness intended and it always made people smile. So the phrase “YOU are a big deal around here,” was just perfect for the back of our Caleb Cares Project shirts. The orange represents his love of Tennessee Volunteer football and the red because he was a Lifeguard and his favorite color.
The walk this year ended up being virtual due to Coronavirus, but that didn’t stop us from building a team. We built a team and several people joined and donated to the AFSP and also to our non profit. On Saturday, November 14, 2020, 54 people came to Liberty Park in Clarksville, TN to walk with us in honor of the boy we all miss so much. We donned our new shirts, silly socks and hats that Caleb would love and step by step we did our part. There are also several people who walked with us wherever they found themselves to be that day. We are devoted to his memory, to his legacy and in doing our part in bringing awareness and prevention to such a devastating verb. Caleb did not want to die, we know this without a doubt. If it was something we discussed openly and honestly in our house, whether we thought we needed to or not, I believe that Caleb would still be here today. For each person that takes any sort of action whatsoever to help bring awareness to those they influence in their daily lives, is one step closer to a tomorrow with less deaths by suicide. #talklistenprevent
If you took part in any way with our Caleb Cares Project team in the Out of Darkness Walk, thank you for your support! We love and appreciate you so very much.
If you would like to order a Caleb Cares Project shirt, please do so by clicking on the photo below. Each shirt is $15 and by purchasing, you’ll be supporting a local business who believes in the mission and vision of our project, honoring our son and you could possibly lead someone to my website who might need to read, YOU are a big deal round here!