Leading up to that day

Sep 01, 2023

This is a bit of Brian's Story leading up to that day. I share because I know I have people that care. I share to help me. I share to maybe help others. I share to raise awareness. I share for Brian. This is a part of his story.

Within two months leading up to June 20th, 2023 is when we learned that Brian was suffering. Looking back before that time, we can now see there were signs. We didn't see them. We excused some things for "thats just Brian" or "thats how teenagers are" etc. We wish we would've known then what we know now. A little over two months before, Brian and I had plans. Brian's hockey team was having an exhibition tryout game. I of course was coaching and evaluating the players and he was coming to watch and cheer on his prospective teammates. We made plans for me to pick him up right after his track practice, head to the arena, and pick up some food on the way. I arrived at his track practice at the time we said and he wasn't there. I tried texting and calling and there was no answer. I continued to do this over and over again. I had no idea what happened, was angry but thought he was with friends. I made my way towards the game alone. I continued to call though. Brian's mom who was home began calling and texting. She ended up calling a friend of his who is also on the track team and he told her Brian never came to practice today and he hadn't heard from him since school. It had now been 4hrs since school ended. We were now worried and I turned around to go home and look for him. His mom and I searched, drove around, called his friends and continued to call and text him. Nobody knew where he was and nobody had heard from him. Finally after about 6hrs, he wrote simply "Im ok". When we responded, he again didn't. I made the decision to go to the police. I texted him and told him that I was going to as we were scared and worried. He again wrote back, dont go to police. Im ok. He didnt answer anymore about where we was or what was happening so I had no choice. After filing a report, the officer went to look for Brian. I as well went to look for him. I also asked a friend to help look in their car. I found Brian sitting alone in a McDonalds at 10pm, 8hrs from when school ended. He got in the car with me and he broke down. He was emotional and breaking down like I have never seen. I comforted him and talked to him. He told me how he felt and some of the things he was going through. He said he was walking for all that time, just walking and wanting to be alone. I took him home and we all talked. That was the first time we learned about what he was going through and his struggles. That hurt us as parents a lot. It hurts to see your child suffering so greatly. We tried our best that night to listen, support, encourage and show love. We love him more then anything. Before, then and now. 
The next day we let Brian stay home from school. He was mentally and physically exhausted. The day after we made an appointment and we saw the doctor to talk about what happened and everything he was feeling. Brian was diagnosed with depression. 
We talked about a plan of action. Two weeks later we went back to the doctor for a followup visit. At that time, Brian started medication. We also in the meantime had met with his school and arranged a board councillor for him to speak to as well as some arrangements and resources that would help Brian with his studies and his future planning. Brian was on a good path. It was the start but we were optimisitic. Two more weeks passed and his medication was increased per the original plan. I thought we could also see a small change in him as well. Little things that made us think he was doing good. We talked alot in that time and we continued to make it known that we knew his struggles and we support, encourage, are proud and love him. About a week later June 20th, 2023 I drove him to school that morning. It was the last time I saw Brian alive. There was no signs he was going to do what he did. He was texting us that day like it was a normal day. He didn't come home for dinner but texted me he was at the gym and going to get food after. Nothing out of the ordinary. We have since learned he wasn't at the gym or with who he said he was. His mom and I went to a store after dinner. While in the store she received a text. It was his suicide note of sorts. We raced home in a panic calling and texting him the whole way. We called the police. Minutes later two police cars arrived at our house telling me outside on the driveway what had happened, what he had done. I will never forget that moment. They raced us down to SunnyBrook where we were told he was in critical condition. After hours and hours we got an update. It wasn't good. Brian stayed in the hospital for 2 more days until they made it official. Nothing had changed from the 20th to the 22nd though. He was gone on the 20th. We were and are still shocked. We were and still are numb in disbelief. I honestly believed we were on the right path. We believed that Brian knew we would've done absolutely anything for him. Anything! We are heartbroken he didn't come to us. Heartbroken he didn't just come home that day. Heartbroken we failed to see something. Heartbroken our Brian thought this was the better choice. Heartbroken he is gone. It all happened so fast. 

If you suspect anyone in your life is suffering and is experiencing any of these. Please watch them, talk to them, get them help, do not ignore. 

• talking about feelings of hopelessness or no future
• talking about feelings of helplessness, of being trapped with no way out
• talking about feelings of being a burden to others
• having trouble concentrating and issues at school or work
• frequent complaints of physical symptoms like headaches or stomach aches
• eating or sleeping much more or much less than usual
• withdrawing from usual activities and relationships with friends and family
• engaging in risky, reckless or self-destructive behaviours like drug use or cutting
• acting anxious or angry, experiencing extreme mood swings
• talking about “going away,” giving away possessions to others
• talking about death, suicide or wanting to die
• threatening to hurt or kill oneself
• actively researching ways to die.