Suicide. I understood it. I had the compassion and calmness to deescalate it. I had so much love in me, I could talk the knives off of friends' wrists. I remember when I was 16 years old sneaking out of my house at 2am to meet a girl who had been hurt and broken by her family so badly, she was ready to let it be the last time. We sat together on a bench outside of a Harvey's and she cried. I held her. I had all the want to help in the world, and that night it was enough. She went home and she kept on.
When Rachael died by suicide, you can imagine the devastation I felt. I was 17 years old. All my compassion, grace and love I had, just wasn't enough. I wore guilt like my middle name. I would never tell anyone about it, but it was apart of who I was. It sunk deep into my chest and became a vital organ. It changed the way I looked at everything, and more importantly EVERYONE. I vowed to myself to try my best to listen, and lead, and to never judge until I had heard someone's full, honest story. I vowed to reach out even if it made me feel uncomfortable.
7 years after Rachael had left us I had really started enjoying running. A place, a time I could release myself to reflect, to think, to be. Running always challenged me. To be faster, to go longer, physically. But mentally it challenged me to be better. I often thought of Rachael, because her life shaped me so much into who I am now. It's really hard to stop thinking about the death of the one's we've lost, but as soon as I focused on Rachael life, and how much her life meant, and how much her life means now, it urged me to do something.
I've seen the power of shame and heartache. How could you ever invite someone into the darkest corner of your life? I started "Running For Rachael" in hope that we could equip and motivate others to ask those who are going through tough times, if we could come into their darkest corner, if only to sit and be with them in that low time in their life. I was a 17 year old boy with all the love to give in the world, yet I was so unequipped. I am now 27, and my friend Rachael, 18 years forever.
So please I ask that you help us start a conversation. Help us to keep that conversation going. Help us equip teenagers to understand suicide. To have the skills and knowledge to sympathize, and refer their friends to the right organizations where they can receive help. All the funds raised from this event help to educate high school students in Hamilton.
Join me in taking a stand against suicide.