Today I read a lot of stories that so many friends so openly shared in the spirit of #BellLetsTalk.
One friend's story really resonated with me today and it inspired me to share my story.
There are some moments in life that seem particularly important in the moment, but over time you grow, experience new things, and you realize that perhaps that event wasn't as significant as you once thought. Then there are those circumstances that can alter your path for the rest of your life. June 14, 1995 was one of those days in my life.
I was 17 years old, it was a warm day and I was laying in bed wishing it was summer vacation already. Then I heard my mother's cry. It was a sound I will never, ever forget.
While we all slept, my father had stayed up late working in the garage and for reasons we'll never fully understand, he made the decision to end his life that night. I don't even remember him being sad.
It's something that is very difficult for me to talk about even now, 22 years later. I still get emotional when I think of my Dad. I can't help but think what he's missed ... he never had a chance to see me graduate, to meet my husband, or to meet his granddaughter. He would have loved her so much.
My father was a great influence in my life, perhaps just as much as losing him was. I believe it's made me more sensitive to other people's feelings, and I understand now that life can be very trying at times and we need to surround ourselves with good people that can pick us up from time to time.
I'll never fully understand what he was feeling, and I wish every day that I could have known so I could have hugged him more, told him how much I loved and needed him more. I can't roll the clock back, but I can share with all of you friends, if you ever feel alone, please know that you are not. I will be here for any one of you if you ever need me.
Bell Let's Talk Day is a day dedicated to breaking down the stigma around mental illness and raising money for important mental health initiatives. Let's all talk, be kind to each other, and tell your loved ones how much they mean to you when you kiss them goodnight.