It was ten years ago today, at about 8:30 in the morning that I received the phone call that would change my life forever. It was from a police detective wanting to meet with me regarding my son, Mark. It didn't take long to realize that Mark had died, and I would find out at the meeting that Mark took his life. A have spent the last ten years on a grief journey that has taken me places that I never would have gone otherwise.
Here are some of the places I've been. One of the first places was volunteering to be a police chaplain. I wanted to try to bring comfort to people on what was most likely one of the worst days of their life. Most of the calls that I go on are due to a death of some kind, and many times I find myself comforting a parent who has just lost a child. Every time it takes me back to the day I found out about Mark, but it also helps me know how to best minister to them.
Another place I've been is a member of our county Suicide Awareness and Prevention Coalition. The coalition is made up of mental health and suicide prevention organizations working together to bring awareness and education to prevent suicide in our community. I have been able to tell Mark's story through a public service announcement on suicide prevention, radio and television interviews, and training sessions. This has been a rewarding experience as we focus on saving lives and directing people to the help they need.
Today, I begin a new adventure, with the official launch of Love Never Ends Ministry. I wanted to start this earlier in the year, but I think God helped me wait until today. I can see the wisdom in it that is beyond me. May 18th has been the worst day of the year for me for the past ten years. Today, and for future May 18th's, it is the day I took my pain and turned it into hope for other parents who have experienced the death of a child. A day to look forward to. I hope you will join me in this journey as we find hope and healing together.