When his son seemed intent on committing suicide, this dad found the words to convince him to live. Here is how they both found a new lease on life.
“You need to surround him with reasons for which to live,” she said while pointing at me.
That is all I remembered hearing from the psychiatrist on the fourth day at the psychiatric hospital where my son was staying at getting evaluated, after my son’s attempt to end his life.
Let’s rewind a bit and go back four days prior to that, in which I call the most hurtful day of my existence, to date.
My son, Christopher, then seventeen was away on spring break to visit his older brother in Kansas. We lived in Florida at the time and our oldest went to college at Emporia State University. Christopher seemed as normal as any seventeen year old would be as a senior in high school. He played sports and had lots of friends.
Little did my wife and I know, is that he had no intentions in returning back home. He had to see his brother one last time before “leaving this earth” as he put it.
The day was Saturday, the time was eight in the morning and he is expected to fly back to Florida, back home, yet no one knows of his whereabouts. He mysteriously disappeared off the face of the planet.
An hour passes by and what happens next is any parent’s worst nightmare. His suicide text came buzzing in to my wife’s cell phone. Right there and then we were both tested to the farthest limits of parenthood.
Yes, it broke me as a father, the pain was unbearable at this point. My wife called every number in the book to try and reach him. His cell had been turned off and there was no way of getting to hear his live voice. All we got was his recorded voice of the voicemail message.
Four hours had gone by and messages after messages seemed to have been sent every other minute to his phone. Text and voicemails came pouring in to his phone from family, friends and friends of friends. Yet, his phone was still turned off.
I had hopes that we were not late in sending him all of the texts and voicemails. However, after another couple of hours passing by I still had no progress in reaching Christopher.
Meanwhile, my son is ready to perform “the deed” which was to take his own life. The deed failed on his first attempt thankfully. This failed moment allowed a single thought, for whatever reason, for him to turn on his phone one last time.
“Buzz, buzz, buzz.”
It was, what he explained, as an eternity of buzzing as his phone received the insurmountable amount of texts and voicemails from our prior attempts to reach him. Right at that moment, he snapped out of his darkness and began to see a glimpse of light and love.
Soon after, he called us and stated the most wonderful words I will never, ever take for granted again. The words out of his mouth were, “I want to go home.”
My wife and I flew in to Kansas to get our son. He was being evaluated for seven days in the psychiatric hospital before leaving with us back to Florida.
Returning back to the beginning of this story. “You need to surround him with reasons to live for,” is all that I remember hearing that night from her. That finger pointing moment changed my life forever. She put me to the task of having me surround my son with reasons to live for.
The mere thought of that statement was enough to have me create a plan to do such a thing. I thought that living had to be bigger! Then bam, it hit me! The words “Living Is So Big” were born.
I left that room with a new found confidence to save my son’s life. I was going to prove to him that living is so big. That there are many reasons to live for. However, I needed help. For I did not have all of the answers.
That same night I registered & created the website “www.livingissobig.com” and had it up and running within hours. I then asked all that I could reach to “please share one reason why you live for today.”
My plan was working. People were willing to share their priceless thought on why they lived life for today. By the seventh day, I had fifteen new reasons for living to share with my son. When he came out of the hospital I was able to share with him all of the reasons posted and show him the website.
This creation through a desperation to save my son’s life eventually helped us all as a family. It has expanded our thought process to truly appreciate life to its best potential. Although it has helped us and we are all doing well this was not the end of the idea. My son, wife and I decided to pay it forward in any way that we could.
Five years later, 90,000 miles traveled, 90+ cities visited and over 300 hundred hand written letters from High school students as testimonials to our visit to their school, speaking about Life Appreciation. My son Christopher & I still travel to speak at locations to promote Life Appreciation.
Our wish is to have no parent or child experience what we did.
More information can be found at www.livingrealizations.com