• Log In
  • Sign Up

    • "It's been seven years, today since we lost you, Dad. It's crazy to think about how much has changed. 7 years of birthdays, 7 years of growth, 7 years of job changes and relationships and breakups. What would you say now if you knew I was going off to pursue my passion? Remember when we both used to compete at who was the better photoshopper? (It was me, it's okay you can admit it). I know deep in my heart you would be proud of the woman I have become. I know you would be shouting at me all the way down the hall to raise my prices and to not take shit from anyone. I have followed in your footsteps of marching to the beat of my own drum. I miss you. I wish things had been different but I also know I wouldn't be where I am today if they were."

      On this day every year, I face what feels like the darkest of my past. The day my father took his own life was one that would change my existence in ways I could have never expected. It made me never ever take anything in this life for granted. It has hardened me and made me this unstoppable force of love, passion, and light.

      Hold your loved ones close today. Check-in on those around you. Someone can always use a smile and a hug. Depression is a hell of an illness and I am forever heartbroken to have lost my father to suicide, but it will be a lesson I take with me for the rest of my life in the way I approach and treat people. Life is too short.

      Have you ever lost someone in your life to suicide? What were some of your experiences?

    • Wow, Sarah, I can't imagine. It's amazing how strong you have become and how you do march to the beat of your own drum. You never fail to inspire me.

      Thanks for the many great photos you've shot of our family. I wish I could tell your dad how amazing you are. I would even tell him about the diamonds I bought for your teeth. I think he would be very proud.

    • Sarah, people don’t know what to say to you do they? It’s hard. It’s hard for everyone involved. I like you want to know why. Yet I know why. Because I know my son. He was quick to temper. One night he was drinking to much and thinking about the love he had lost. He had been shooting guns earlier in the day and had the adrenilin still pumping. He grabbed the same gun and put it to his head and pulled the trigger. Just like that. If he had gotten past that moment he would still be with us.

      Four days later his sister found him crumpled forward in a pool of blood. He was cold. His place was beginning to stink. When we arrived the next day and began to clean his place we had to turn the heat off. The smell of his death had gotten so bad. It would get worse over the next several days of cleanup. Our daughter lost her best friend. She will never recover. She has his cat.

      The moment our daughter called us minutes after finding him I looked at my wife and said. “This will not break us up.” I had heard so many stories of this doing just that.

      Sarah like you I have become more loving, more caring. I am not bitter nor angry. I turned to God and for me and my wife this has worked. I do not want to be labeled that guy that lost his 34 year old son to suicide and yet I am. We are linked to that moment in time when he decided to end his life. I thought a couple days about responding to you. Please do not feel alone. There are lots of us out there feeling the same hurt. We do not want you to hurt and we pray that you live a full and complete life. As you have said this will not define you.

      Shine on Sarah, you and I have work to do. Our work here is not done yet.

    • Beautiful words, Sarah. I love all the stories you’ve told me about your Dad and feel like we would have gotten along 😉.

      I remember when we were in Berlin and you were wearing his coat (photographed), that was just the sweetest.

      Without any doubt, he will be proud. You’re kicking ass right now and owning it.

      I can’t wait to see where this new chapter takes you... hopefully back to Scotland at some point 😛.

      Love ya, girl 💛

    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your kind words. It's funny to think that I took that photo of my dad, having no idea I would fulfill my passion and be a photographer not that many years later.

      When I look at this photo you have posted of me, it's really crazy to see the resemblance between my dad and me. I've lost a considerable amount of weight since that photo was taken months back, so it's a slightly different look, but seeing them next to each other is really fascinating for me. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Dan,

      Thank you for your courage in sharing your story. I know it's not easy digging into the details of the past, and I appreciate you making me feel less alone in this experience. I am SO SO saddened and sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what it must feel like to lose a child.

      My father had been ill, lost his vision to diabetes, and felt completely dependent and like "a burden". In his final week he suddenly had a 104 fever, was hallucinating people that weren't there and didn't see himself getting better. My mom had talk of "putting him in a home" which was one of his all time greatest fears. He didn't see another option, got in our childhood swimming pool and shot himself. I haven't been able to step foot in that pool since.

      You are right when you mentioned, "people don't know what to say." I remember when it first happened, I was 19 and completely in shock and denial. I would tell the story to anyone who would listen, strangers, random people I had just met, coworkers. I think mostly I was needing to hear myself say it out loud because I still didn't believe it was true, that he was capable of making a conscious decision to leave us.

      I don't think it is something I will ever fully understand, but I do accept it.

      Mental illness and depression, whether impulsive or long-time planned is something that we don't discuss enough. Even today, when I was looking for new health care options, I found out that you can get denied for admitting to mental illness. How can people get the help they need if we as a society are encouraged to hide our illness? All I know to do is continue to talk about it. Encourage people to share their stories and hope those get help before it's too late.

    • Lauren, hands down, without a doubt, my dad would have loved you to pieces. Your father reminds me a lot of him. He would have laughed with us and talked about life in the most real of ways. I wish he could have met you.

      That coat was almost thrown out when my mom did a big purge after he left us. It was part of her process in letting him go. I snagged it right before she threw it in a bag. It's now one of my prized possessions. I feel a sense of confidence when I wear it, a confidence my father passed onto me. It's a reminder of his presence. Thank you for sharing <3