In memory of Tyler James Dudek who died by suicide

by Christine Dudek

My only son, Tyler James Dudek, died by suicide.

He was born on October 6, 1997. I adored him from that very second and will continue to adore him until I stop breathing. I get up every morning and grieve him over and over again.

When I was 23, scared and insecure, his birth breathed purpose into my life. I would love and protect him from the cradle to the grave. I just figured it would end at my grave many years down the line.

Instead, I have a jar full of ashes

And questions that … Read more...

Hard Granite. Nicholas Anderson’s suicide by Sandy LaSalle

From Anne Moss: Nicholas was on the autism spectrum. There does seem to be a connection between mental illness and autism which increases the odds of suicide.

Nicholas Robert Anderson, 23
Nicholas Robert Anderson, 23

by Sandy LaSalle

It has now been over 1.5 years since my son Nicholas died by suicide. What a shock! We saw him just days before and he seemed “on top of the world” with great plans for his future.

Together with family, we awaited his arrival home following his graduation from Virginia Tech with a degree in physics, yet he never arrived.

We waited.

Then the call … Read more...

Billy Derr’s Story

Jenny Derr and Billy Derr

By Jenny Derr, his mother

In April of 2016, our 24-year-old son, Billy was visiting us in Richmond. We had a good weekend–he was engaged, laughing, and spending a lot of time with us, which is not the typical behavior of someone in active addiction.

He had relapsed in October 2015, after a year and a half of sobriety, and seemed to be back on the right track. He was enrolled at Boston University taking two classes and he loved living in Beacon Hill. He flew back to Boston on a Tuesday morning, I took … Read more...

Dawson Pettit’s Story

by Laurie Pettit

My son Dawson, my first child, was born February 13, 1988. He was such a happy baby and he grew up in the Wyndham area of Short Pump. He loved school, his friends, his pets and his family–especially his cousin Grayson.

Dawson played little league baseball, YMCA basketball, travel soccer with Richmond Strikers, and he was a brown belt in Karate. He later played Lacrosse, and tennis and golf through High school. Dawson did well in school and was accepted into Deep Run’s Center for Information Technology, his home school and where his friends were.

When the … Read more...

The final 48 hours

Trigger warning: Strong emotional content and suicide method mentioned.

This is one of the last photos of Charles before he died
This is one of the last photos of Charles before he died

Charles, who suffered from anxiety and depression and ultimately addiction had been from detox to rehab to a sober house. After rehab he looked great. I call this “Saturday Charles.” He then went to the sober house but relapsed the next morning by walking downtown and buying heroin. We can only imagine he got money from his room at home on the way to the recovery house. The policy at the sober house was that if you went to Read more...

You never stop missing the child you lost

I remember a trip I took to my grandmother’s when I was around 9 or 10 years old.

Usually, I’d stay in the room with twin beds with my grandmother when we visited and one morning I woke up and saw my grandmother standing up in front of her dresser crying and looking at a picture. Curious and worried, I asked my grandmother what was the matter. She told me that it was Lou Maddy’s birthday and she would have been 40 years old that day. I asked her who Lou Maddy was and she said she was her Read more...