Let’s Talk About Depression … with Someone Who Really Knows

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Picture by Brendon at our dock

My apologies for taking so much time between blog posts. I’ve been spending a tremendous amount of time and effort getting our affairs in order and trying to figure out how to “run” this house.  Lynn and I had an incredible partnership … she “ran” the house, in addition to all sorts of other things she took care of and was involved in. I had my career outside the house. I was the money man … but she was the glue that kept it altogether.  In one of my recent FB posts a friend of mine was commenting on the beautiful home that Lynn and I built together.  He asked, “How many staff does a place like that require?”.  Now I recognize what he was saying was a bit “tongue in cheek”, but I tell you what … it took a lot of effort to keep things straight around this place … tend to the boys, the dogs, volunteering, and a whole host of other things.  She was a “staff of one”, with let’s just say a lot of outsourced service providers.  She didn’t get a ton of help from me given the hours I worked and how much I traveled … irregardless … she managed it all very well.  So, now I’m overwhelmed with taking on this additional responsibility. But don’t worry … Superman will figure it out.

As I’ve said all along … we’re going to continue telling this love story … the full body of work that is Lynn. I say “is” because the impact of her “work”, the lives that’s she’s touched … lives on.  It’s also important to us that we continue to bring attention to this dangerous disease called depression. Both my sons … Brendon and Ryan … spoke at their mom’s send off on Tuesday, June 20th. In the midst of the saddest time of my life … I had one of my proudest moments. My boys … showing that they are really incredible men. I want to share with you the remarks that Brendon made that night … in front of ~200 people.  This comes from a young man who has firsthand knowledge of what depression is really like … I was simply amazed by his courage and his poise under these extremely difficult circumstances …

“Throughout the years that I spent with my Mom, I’ve learned so many things from her and I have a lot of great memories. She was an amazing woman and I’m proud to say that I’ve inherited a lot of her good qualities. Unfortunately one of the things we shared was depression.

First and foremost, I want everyone to remember what a strong woman my mother was. I’ve heard a lot of people say that it doesn’t make sense or that they don’t know why she’d do this. That’s because depression doesn’t make sense. Sometimes there really is no good reason.

Way too often people associate suicide with someone being weak or selfish. But anyone who knows my mom should know that she was neither one of those things. It was her strength and unselfish nature that held this family together. She brought joy into the lives of so many people in this room. She put everyone else’s happiness before her own and she was always someone you could lean on for support or talk to. I could always depend on her when I needed strength and positivity. When everything in my life was crashing down around me, she was the one standing strong and lifting me up with her calm and reassuring voice. She fought for me, when I didn’t have the strength to fight for myself. Having someone like that in your life is priceless and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s something about her that I will never forget or take for granted.

One of the most important things my Mom showed me was what a loving wife and partner looks like. She loved my father more than life itself. And it was so obvious to anyone that met her. I understand that no marriage is perfect, but my mom and dad were an example of what every married couple should aspire to be like, and I am forever grateful for that. They were honest with each other, compassionate, loyal, patient, communicated well, and made sure that my brother and I always were always their main priority. Some kids aren’t fortunate enough to witness what a strong, committed marriage looks like. But because of her, we were lucky enough to grow up around a healthy and loving relationship, and learned from it. Fortunately for me, I’ve been in a relationship like that for almost 5 years now, and I’ve found the woman who will be my wife someday soon. I know how much my mom loved my girlfriend Christa. I’ll never forget the day she told me that she knew I would marry her. She recognized the love that we have for each other, and it reassured me that I found the right woman.

My mom and I both struggled with depression. It was something that we talked about frequently. She was very open about it with me and we both confided in each other. So I can honestly say, she was happy and doing the best she had been in a long time. Not everything was perfect, but mentally and physically she was doing great. Her spirit was bright and hopeful. She was really looking forward to life. So that’s how I know that she truly didn’t want to go. She didn’t want to leave us. But depression can be so overwhelming sometimes that it takes away our power to make logical decisions. It takes a hold over you, and it can make you do drastic, irrational things that don’t make sense. But what she did does make sense to me. Only because I understand how depression can destroy someone’s mind so quickly and unexpectedly.

So please don’t ask or wonder why she did it. Because she was NOT unhappy. She DID NOT live some sad or awful life. She deeply loved her husband, her sons, her family, her dogs, and all of her friends. She just simply lost a battle with a disease that has no true cure and can break the will of even the strongest people.

Although I’ll never truly get over the loss of my mother, I have found comfort in knowing that she is finally at peace. As people, we walk through life searching for happiness, but we’re only able to catch brief glimpses of it. It’s those moments that we hold onto and cherish. My mother truly enjoyed life, but sometimes the sadness deep inside of us never really heals or goes away. That’s what makes depression so unfair. My mother didn’t take her own life…it was taken from her, by a disease that leaves us helpless to our own emotions and insecurities. It’s something that makes us honestly believe that we have no choice. It’s a disease that will never be fully understood or appreciated for how destructive it can be. But we need to realize how debilitating it is, so that we can spread awareness and hope to others that feel the same way as my Mom did. Because I never want anyone else to experience the pain that we all feel right now.

The day that she died, a piece of me died along with her. But my mother will forever be my reason to keep fighting, no matter how tough life may get. Her beautiful soul will always inspire me to look for the light, in a world that can often be so dark. Her loving spirit will always be with me and I will never feel alone. So even if there’s days where I don’t want to go on anymore, I’ll keep on living for my Mom. I will always continue to fight against depression and make her proud. I love you Mom.”

*************************************************************************************

I’m going to close this post with an example of one of many notes I’ve been receiving since this all happened and my boys and I have been speaking out. This comes from a friend of mine from high school, Lisa Carbone, on 7/16/17 ….

“Your Love story that you started. All your words from you and your son that you have been writing has helped me so much. Since I had my brain tumor removed I’ve gone through this depression! I finally started becoming more open about this thanks to you, it sucks at times of what comes good out of a tragedy and loss. I’ve lived my life for my kids, being super mom! But some days it’s just gets so hard hiding behind this fake smile!! Thank you again for all your sharing😇

OK one last thing … I need feedback!  Please, if you like what you are reading … hit “like” at the bottom of the post.  But better yet … right a comment … tell me how this is impacting you or someone you know and love.  And share, share, share … let’s help as many people as we can. Love, caring, and sharing is free!

Much love – Lance

13 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Depression … with Someone Who Really Knows

  1. Heather Cary Johnson says:

    Thank you Lance but more so Brendon for being willing to be open about how depression has impacted you and your mom. Having had a mother who suffered from depression for so many years and considered suicide herself, I have some understanding of living with someone who experiences the overpowering feelings of loneliness, profound sadness as well as guilt for having these feelings when life is pretty okay. Lot of crap to struggle with that is beyond one’s control. Keep sharing, keep reaching out, keep connected, keep your mom’s light alive but more importantly Brendon, keep your light alive.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LeeAnn Spence says:

    Thanks for your open discussion of depression. I too, suffered from situational depression after the unexpected loss of my mom, life changing surgery and the breakup of my marriage all in less than six months. With the help of my family, friends, counseling and Prozac, I was able to overcome it. I have shared my need for Prozac during that time of my life sometimes getting looks or remarks from people who don’t understand why I would share that. My response is that I would take medication to treat a physical illness, why not one to treat a mental illness? And why hide it? I believe that if I didn’t exercise every day and practice yoga regularly, I would still need it. I am certainly open to taking it in the future if necessary. Continue your dialogue. If it helps save one person, it will be worth your time and effort. My best to you and the boys. Lee Ann Spence

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Koos Krijthe says:

    Your words are very powerful Lance. I count myself very lucky not to know about depression among my loved ones, but Brandon’s brave story provides me with more insight and understanding. You and your boys being so open about what happened to Lynn must surely be a big help to people who have to deal with depression. I will keep sharing on this side of the pond! All the best, Koos

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Suzanne says:

    It makes me look at each day as a blessing! To embrace life each moment! Such a true love story!
    Some days are good some days can be hard! But when I look around the love of my husband and children make it all worth the tough days and amazing on the good days!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kimberly says:

    I came across this blog post through a mutual friend on FaceBook. I too live with depression. I am that wife and mom you and your son describe. I am the glue that keeps a houseful of 5 people and 2 dogs together. I love my children fiercely. i have guilt that weighs heavily and is constant. I appreciate you sharing this experience with all of us. This post is one of the best I’ve read from a personal point of view. One that I can relate to. May God bless you and comfort you. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Caroline Stewart Jackson says:

    How beautifully spoken from your son, Lance. It is so important to view depression as a disease just like any other physical one. I lost my brother to depression and ultimately suicide, unfortunately knowing nothing about this disease. I so appreciate when your son said, “My mother didn’t take her own life…it was taken from her, by a disease that leaves us helpless to our own emotions and insecurities.” My family knows that my brother wouldn’t have done what he did if he weren’t overtaken with emotion and insecurity. What you are doing is wonderful and bringing about this awareness, I feel, will help others help others. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Curt says:

    This is a beautiful story of love for your Mom who must have been incredible. I am touched by your willingness to share which I imagine to be her love coming through with your words. I have depression and the best way I can describe it is that it feels like a storm in my mind. There are times when the storm is a persistent rain of thoughts – fear, self-critical, and even hopelessness. It is not always emotion for me., more like a thought storm that is difficult to escape. I hope that you find comfort in sharing your love story.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rachael Clendenning says:

    I love and admire what your son had the courage to say. Depression renders you helpless to your emotions. I’ve never heard it put so perfectly. I’ve had (just like most of us have had) some very hard, traumatic, and life altering events happen in my 35 years of life and it’s taken up until this year to realize I had been suffering from what my therapist claimed was “depression”. Depression has no rules! Reading what your son wrote def struck a cord with me. I’m sure he knows he’s not fighting alone. We are all fighting every day along with him!

    Liked by 1 person

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