Hallie & her family are never far from my thoughts. I can't even wrap my head around what she has been through, what her life is like now.
I can tell you that it has affected my relationship with my children, particularly my son, and his friends. I don't tiptoe around, fearful of doing or saying the wrong thing....but I am mindful. Mindful that suicide does happen. Nobody is immune, and it happens to those you would least expect it to. I try to make sure my children know that no matter what, I love them unconditionally, and they can always come to me with their problems. I don't want to lose them and then wonder if they knew how much I loved them.
Recently, one of my son's friends came to me at a low period in his life. Like a lot of kids his age (19), he's trying to figure out where he fits in in the world, and what he wants to do with his life, and he was feeling like he wasn't in a very good place in life. I tried to choose my words so carefully, to encourage him that it was normal for him to be at this place at this time. And to encourage him to find his passion in life, set goals, and go for it. But most of all to let him know that I love him unconditionally for who he is. He has two wonderful parents who love him that way too, but sometimes kids think "they're my parents, they have to love me". I wanted him to know that I CHOOSE to love him that much, because he deserves it, and because he's smart and kind and amazing. Did I change his life, or even make a huge difference? I don't know. He was very sweet and thankful. We talked for hours over two days. I only hope and pray that I helped him in some way. I also hope and pray that my kids can come to me at times like that, and if not me, someone else who will encourage them and pull them through.
That being said, Hallie is doing a fundraiser in honor of her beloved CJ, and I wanted to bring attention to that here. It's a raffle and for every dollar you donate, you get a chance to win one of 16 different prize packages.
Hallie, I will never, ever forget you or CJ. I send you my love.