Choosing to Live 

    Editor’s Note: TW Suicide. Please consider your mental health before reading. There are resources at the end of this article to help you or your loved ones. Call #988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline if you are struggling.  

    On May 28, 2009, I received the news that my brother, Aaron, took his life. As my mind, body, and soul tried to process the pain, I called my mom and let her know. She was at work. I knew I did not want to tell her over the phone or at her place of work, so I requested she come to me. As she pulled up to the house and walked in, my oldest brother and I greeted her and delivered the worst news a mother could receive, your child has died. My oldest brother and I held my mom as her legs began to give out from underneath her. There was nothing I could do to take the pain away from her. So, I held space for her as she went through the waves of grief, and I have been doing so ever since.  

    My mom has fallen into a deep depression since Aaron’s death. One day she confided she no longer wanted to be here, and when she didn’t outwardly say it, I could feel the depths of her pain. Through her darkest moments, my mom chose to feel the pain, breathe through it, and reach out for support. Every day she takes one step in front of the other and fills her space with people, activities, and things that bring her joy.  

    It has been 14 years since my brother, Aaron, died this May. Reflecting on all that has happened, I am so grateful my mom chose to recommit to her life. There have been so many beautiful moments she and I have shared. She was the first person I wanted to call, and I called when I found out I was pregnant in 2014. She has been my biggest support as I navigate life; from what she has said, I know I am hers.

    There isn’t a manual anyone can create to help you process the loss of a child. There are things we can do to process grief in healthy ways, though. I encourage everyone to make an effort because each one of our lives matters and has an opportunity to make a positive difference in this world. One of the ways my mom and I choose to process the pain is by holding space for each other and others. We have teamed up with our local Suicide Prevention chapter and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to spread awareness about suicide prevention and mental health. 

    If you or someone you know is struggling, is suicidal, or having thoughts and feelings like you don’t belong– there is help. Below are some resources my family and I have found helpful:

    988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline  

    The Jed Foundation

    American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

    Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Speaker and Trainer Anne Moss Rogers


    Connection & Prevention with Tavia Avila


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