Mother shares story of son’s suicide

Diane
Diane Crocker
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Mary Fisher speaks to a group of Corner Brook Regional High Students on Tuesday, May 29, 2012.

CORNER BROOK — Looking back, Mary Fisher said there are some things she definitely missed.

“But it wasn’t like in-your-face obvious by any means,” said the Corner Brook mother.

Fisher and her husband Bill lost the youngest of their three children, Jason, to suicide in June 2007.

On Tuesday she shared her story with two groups of students at Corner Brook Regional High.

The presentations were the fourth and fifth she’s done in the last few weeks.

Fisher doesn’t tell the students how Jason died.

“The bottom line is he lost his life to suicide,” she said between sessions, adding how he carried it out has nothing to do with what she’s trying to accomplish.

What Fisher wants to accomplish is to try and help prevent another young person from taking his or her life, to prevent another family from going through what her family has and to keep a promise to Jason to not let his death be in vain.

“He was an awesome kid,” said Fisher.

He loved to ride dirt bike and salmon fish and in the weeks prior to his death continued to do all that. Just a couple of weeks before his death Jason got the dirt bike of his dreams. He also had a job for the summer and was planning a fishing trip with a friend.

Fisher said there wasn’t any change in his behaviour, nothing to flag.

He wrote his last exam as a Level 2 student on June 11 the day Fisher, her husband and two daughters, Tracy and Lori, left for Portugal.

Jason never made the trip with them. Sightseeing wasn’t his thing, his mother said, and he had his new dirt bike.

“And I thought ‘wow, he’s on Cloud 9 now. Awesome,’” Fisher said. “He won’t even notice us gone now for three weeks.”

In the days leading up to the trip Fisher recalls how Jason didn’t seem excited about his parents going away and having the house to himself. She wonders if that was one of the signs she should have picked up on.

She said thinking of her son committing suicide was not something she thought she had to worry about. The thoughts and fears she had were of him having a big party or getting in trouble while they were gone.

During the trip the family was in contact with home and only once does Fisher remember getting a strange feeling from Jason.

“I remember the tone in his voice,” she said as he asked her about Portugal and what it was like there.

Before she got off the phone she told Jason she loved him and his reply was ‘I love you, too.’

Later she would say to one of her daughters that Jason seemed down and the response was that he probably just missed them.

On June 30, two days before his parents were to return home, Jason killed himself.

“There was no note,” said Fisher.

“I’m still asking questions to this day. How in God’s name did this happen? This was an awesome kid. There was nothing diagnosed in him.”

Now she figures Jason was suffering from depression, but then she said she saw more moodiness in other teenagers than she did in him.

In 2009 Fisher started organizing suicide awareness and prevention walks for World Suicide Prevention Day, but all along wanted to do more and knew that included talking to people.

It took her almost five years to build not only the message she wanted to share, but the strength to do it.

Fisher suffers from anxiety and depression and some days doesn’t know how she’ll cope.

But she knows there are others out there like her who may be naive to think this just happens of certain types of kids.

“That’s so not true. I realize there’s no profile,” she said. “I realize that suicide can happen to anybody ... There’s a lot of parents out there that got kids just like Jason, and I bet they’ll miss it just like I did and I got to do something about it.”

And then there’s the promise she made to her son.

“If I don’t try to do something positive with it, then he died for nothing, and I just couldn’t have that because too many more kids are going to fall down in that same place where Jason did if I don’t try to make people aware.”

Awareness and education, she said, are the key to preventing suicide.

Warning signs:

Sadness, hopelessness, crying

Irritability, hostility, anger

Feelings of worthlessness and guilt

Withdrawal from family and friends

Loss of interest in well-liked activities

Changes in eating, sleeping habits or personal appearance

Sudden weight changes

Sudden mood changes

Lack of energy

Talking about death or suicide

Giving away personal possessions

Behaviour that is out of character

Warning signs you might hear:

“Nothing ever goes right for me.”

“I hate life.”

“I wish I was dead.”

“It’ll all be over soon.”

“I just can’t take it anymore.”

Organizations: Cloud 9

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Portugal

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  • Loving Parents
    May 30, 2012 - 16:49

    Mary thank you for sharing your story. As parents of a child who suffers from depression we know how difficult this must be for you. Our son also had suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide before he found the courage to get help. We were devastated when we realized how close we came to losing him. Our kids are our world. We saw that he was struggling and even had him in counseling to try and help but we did not realize how bad he was feeling. We too thought maybe he was having trouble because of the hormonal changes that being a teenager brings. He had also been bullied during his first year of high school. Our son is a loving, caring, kind person who loves to make people laugh. We never dreamed in a million years that he would be struggling with depression. We are so very thankful that he was able to get help and treatment and we pray that he is able to realize what a wonderful person he is. Though he is doing well now we feel a tremendous amount of guilt that we did not realize how bad things were for him. It is difficult to not feel some fear for his future. We are so sorry for your loss, it is heartache you live with everyday but if sharing Jason's story helps even one person, your efforts will not be in vain. Stay strong & God Bless.

  • Margaret Noseworthy
    May 30, 2012 - 08:33

    What a wonderful article, very well written! Great job Mary, and how brave of you to turn this into something positive, helping others.