by Raymond LeRoy Mason
My 23-year-old son, Christopher Bryan DeShields, was a great young man. He suffered from schizophrenia and depression and lived in Raleigh, NC but would come down to Charlotte, NC, on the weekends to spend time with me.
His favorite method of transportation was the Amtrak train. I still go up to the train station sometimes just to sit and wonder what it would be like if my son could get off of the train he normally rode.
His mother and I thought as he was getting older, he was getting better
But in fact, he wasn’t. My son had attempted suicide before but he did not complete it. He and I talked about his suicide attempt at length and he promised me he would never try to do that again.
It is so ironic, the day that he died by suicide in 2013 is the same day my dad passed away back in 1982. December 27 is not a good day for me at all. I can’t really say for sure what factors lead to his decision to kill himself.
I know he had recently come from a stay at the mental hospital and that he and the young lady he really liked had stopped seeing each other. He took it very hard when she told him she did not want to see him anymore. She learned through social media he had been to the mental hospital.
Suicide has no color boundary
When I tell people my son died by suicide, people often look at me and say “but you are African-American.” My response to that is that suicide has no color boundary. Mental depression is something that is not talked about in the African-American community. It is definitely something that needs to be addressed and discussed more openly.
I am still struggling every day to come to grips with losing my son. It still feels like a dream and that I am waiting to wake up.
I have been to grief counseling therapy and a suicide support group. Nothing seems to help. The only thing that I do find that seems to help is praying to the good Lord above. I ask them to help me cope every day with what I have to go through. I would not wish this pain on anyone.