Sharing Jordan’s Story

jordancloseup

Early next summer, an excited group of grade twelve students will walk across the stage to receive their secondary school diplomas at London District Christian Secondary School. Family and friends will gather to give congratulatory hugs as they look towards promising roads ahead. However, one student from the class will not be present on that special day—former student, friend, and classmate Jordan Hiemstra, who died by suicide last month.

Since that tragic day in late September, Jordan’s parents have been intentional about sharing their son’s story with as many people as they can. At his funeral, Chris and Christy Hiemstra read aloud a touching and honest eulogy—which they later posted on their Facebook page—prefaced in this way:

Our family wants to be honest and authentic to who we are, so we will share that our hearts are broken and our dreams of our youngest son’s future and opportunities have been crushed Friday night. Our Jordan has tragically ended his life here on earth. He struggled with the deep pain of depression, and was seeking medical and counseling help with the support of our family and two close friends. He wanted to keep [his struggle] private, and yet in the end he made it so public. We grieve intensely as family but yet we have hope in a better place, like Jordan did. He led our family in prayer at supper, and said ‘goodnight, I love you’, but something in his mind made him say and believe that he was too weak and that the internal battle against himself wouldn’t get better.”

The many photos shared at his funeral show the Jordan that everyone knew—a smiling toddler gently holding a wriggling puppy, a young boy filling Tonka trucks with sand behind the barn, a mischievous worker on his parents’ bee farm spraying water at his co-workers, a confident musician playing keyboard on the church praise team, and an energetic friend who loved being outdoors.

“When he was with you, he was the guy who could instigate fun,” shared Chris, “but he’d never try to be center stage. He was sensitive and thoughtful and was always aware of those who were more vulnerable or sensitive around him. He had great social skills and was very involved in working on the farm—giving wagon rides, leading school tours, and taking kids around on our ‘bee train’. He did well in school and was proud of the honours plaque he got in grade eleven. He had a core group of friends that did a lot of things together—campfires, and that sort of thing. They were always hanging out together, and last March they went on a trip to Europe together with a larger group from school.”

“Jordan also had a very creative side,” added Christy. “He had a real gift for music—he played trumpet for a while, learned piano and keyboard, and recently taught himself how to play the accordion. He also loved photography and got very good at using different cameras to capture various photographic techniques.”

Jordan’s life has continued to be remembered and celebrated over the past two months, but the difference he made in many people’s lives is now felt as a deep loss. “We’re different people now,” shared Christy. “I cry for him every day. There’s a sadness that lingers over us all the time. I’m reminded of his loss in so many ways each day—in the pictures and videos that I look at…walking around the farm and seeing his building projects…his empty chair at mealtimes … missing our morning and evening talks—there will always be a huge hole in our lives.

“When I look at our family picture that was taken in the spring, I don’t even see myself anymore,” Christy continued. “I’m a different person. My heart is broken and my family isn’t whole anymore.”

“There’s such a void that’s left behind,” Chris added. “If you’re struggling in the way that Jordan was, you cannot fathom the chunk you’re carving out of everyone’s hearts when you leave them behind.”

“People are connected more deeply than they realize,” he continued. “Even people who don’t know you will be affected by your decision to take your life. In today’s society, with social media, news travels further and it impacts more people than ever. Jordan was not a celebrity by any means—he was a normal grade twelve student—but people from all over could relate to, or were affected by what happened in ways we don’t understand. It could be as simple as the bus driver that picks you up every morning, the teacher that poured into you for eight years in elementary school, your youth minister, the friend that has been riding the bus with you for twelve years, the people in the hallways at school or those who met you at work, relatives, even the people you only talked to once—you have no idea how your life has affected them or the loss they will feel when you are suddenly gone.”

For this reason, Chris and Christy Hiemstra hope that by sharing Jordan’s story, as well as their own pain in the aftermath that has ensued, they can carry a message to other teenagers that are struggling with the very real temptation of suicide, along with their parents, friends, and teachers.

“One of the biggest struggles that I’ve had is recognizing how Jordan’s illness changed his perception of things so that he couldn’t really see things for what they were anymore,” shared Christy. “In the note that he wrote to me before he died, one of the things he said was, ‘I don’t know how much this is going to affect you, Mom’. I was shocked! He had no inkling that his death would change my whole life completely! And not just mine—like Chris already said—he changed so many people’s lives. But he couldn’t recognize the truth of how much people really did care about him.”

“I think Jordan felt that he was hurting us already and that he wanted to save us more pain. I don’t think he could ever fathom how much pain his death has caused us. So, for other teenagers, or even adults who think that others don’t care, or that taking your life is a way to spare pain for others, I feel such a passion to let you know that you couldn’t be further from the truth and that your absence will deeply affect the ones that care about you.”

Since his death, both Chris and Christy have been open about the struggle that teenagers and their families face when dealing with depression, especially because of the stigma that is attached with mental illness. “He didn’t really share his struggle with any of the friends he hung out with or tell people what he was feeling,” shared Chris. “I often wonder—if depression wasn’t such a touchy or taboo subject, would he have told others what he was actually feeling? For a teenager who is developing into a young man, communicating those kinds of details to your friends feels intimate, and those kinds of feelings aren’t normally a part of everyday conversation.”

“That’s one of the things I think must be the most frustrating for teenagers who are struggling with depression or other types of mental illness,” added Christy. “When you are suffering with more obvious physical illnesses, there are people you can talk to about your symptoms who will help you understand your illness and can usually prepare you for the process of healing. But there are so many unknowns when it comes to feeling anxious or depressed, and even though there is work being done to eradicate the stigma attached to suffering from mental illnesses, I’m sure it seems impossible for teenagers to know how to identify their feelings and find someone who can help.”

Both Chris and Christy realize that when people are wrestling with a mental illness, they cannot process their action’s consequences or their own pain of feeling disconnected. And although they both struggle with the many questions that come along with trying to help a loved one who struggled with the pain of depression, Chris and Christy are passionate about encouraging others to seek support. “Of course, it’s easy to look at things from hindsight and say that we could have done things differently, “Chris shared, “but what we really want to do is look forward and ask how we can prevent this from repeating itself.”

“That’s why it’s so important for us to share Jordan’s story with as many people as we can. We feel that by letting others know what this journey has been like for us, perhaps we can create opportunities for others who are struggling to recognize that there are those who care about them and to find ways to get help.”

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Comments

52 comments

  1. Shanyn says:

    Jordan was my good friend. He kept me happy when I couldn’t keep myself so, and vice versa. I wish he was still here as I miss him so much! He was so funny, kind and smart, and I hope that by sharing his story it will help someone, somewhere realize that we all have an important place on this earth! God is sending Jordan’s ray of sunshine down on us to show us that he still loves us, and wants us to know its going to be okay.”

  2. Jessica says:

    This made me tear up. I am dumbfounded and lost for words as I read this. So beautifully written and well said. I am in total agreement that if mental illness wasn’t such a “taboo” topic and there wasn’t such a negative stigma surrounding it, many people would feel differently. Many people would feel that it’s okay to tell someone how emotionally exhausted and sad they truly are inside. Sending you and your family my deepest and most sincere condolences during your time of grieving. Sending good and positive vibes your way. Have a nice day and RIP Jordan:(

  3. Pam says:

    I pray that by sharing Jordan’s story, more young people will be moved to seek help for their ‘hidden” illness and recognize that they are not alone.

  4. Deb says:

    Yes, and many of us do. I came out of my closet just 2 years ago, after over 3 decades of struggle . So many friends were shocked but supportive. I have wonderful grown children who have dealt remarkably well with anxiety in their own ways with my youngest (22) just finding what works and what doesn’t currently. His self- discovery is scary and awesome at the same time. We are so thankful, as we fully understand things can take a turn in any direction, as it did with this loving family.

    • Deb says:

      No one should have to wait until they’re over 60 to share. I wanted to appear strong to my family and friends so as not to burden them. I have had so many joys in my life that for so long I felt conflicted about my periods of deep sadness. I finally understand that these two contrasts can coexist in one person. I quietly sought help from doctors and therapy, and was successful in controlling the DEEP HOLE ( that people like Jordon were in when decisions are irrational ). I hate drugs, especially since they only keep me out of the hole but do not do much for the other symptoms of isolation, fatigue, or lack of concentration and they also create side effects. I choose life now for sure, and that they help with. I count myself lucky that my symptoms did not start in adolescence as it is such a tumultuous time of development socially, physically ,and biochemically. The “perfect storm” for poor judgement and decisions for anyone.

  5. Marilee says:

    Sharing in grief for your great loss.

    I remember growing up as a teenager, feeling low, finding it hard to keep going. My mom told me just do your best …. that’s all you have to do.
    That helped me a lot.
    I now tell my children and grandchildren often how precious they are, made in God’s image, for His glory… and that I love them unconditionally, always. We are all made with different strengths and weaknesses, and that’s the way God planned it. In our weakness, we can call out to Him and He makes us strong.
    I dealt with depression with my Dad. Praying with him every night, reading the Word together, holding his hand were the strings of life I held out to him.
    I have a daughter with chronic illness. Sometimes she feels she is a burden. I tell her God has given her to us as a special gift. We are growing in our faith and our servanthood, as we minister to each other .
    I had a brother with schizophrenia, and just staying in contact and letting him know he was loved was a life line for him.
    Kids in school meet so much competition, and constantly measure themselves by the other kids. We must work to instill in our kids their worth, is because God made them and has a unique purpose for their life.
    I have encouraged our family with learning to sing the Psalms from the Bible. They are such a help and comfort when we are down and at the end of our rope. The Lord is My Shepherd, I shall not want. David struggled with depression too.
    Also nutrition can play a big part in depression and is important to educate and implement yourselves, if you are struggling.
    Ultimately, we can’t stop everything in life from happening, but looking to God and His Word for help and strength can comfort our souls.
    Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.
    Praying for your family to heal. Praying that parents and family with someone struggling with depression will together draw close to God to find peace, purpose and joy in Him alone.

  6. Hennie Clemmer says:

    My sympathy to you and your family in the loss of your son Jordan. Thank you for sharing his story, as difficult as it was to read. We, too, have a daughter that suffers with deep depression and it is a constant concern. Only being able to lift her up to our Heavenly Father gets us through it. We pray that He will be your strength during this difficult time.

  7. vicki henry says:

    Thank you for sharing! I have struggled with depression I believe all my life, but started treating it at 17. For some reason, in the last 3 years I have really sunk to an all time low and am constantly thinking of suicide. I do indeed believe that my loved ones would be better off without me and would move on with their lives. In my more sensible moments I know this not to be true. I wish I had someone near that truly understood, but most of my family do not believe in ‘clinical depression’! They laugh and say, ‘Oh, someone’s in a slump again’ and stuff like that. My one sister always says, ‘Well, you sure look like you’re doing okay!’ Meanwhile…lol. Anyway, I am getting counseling and medication also, but it really does help to read something like this-it makes you think. I am so sorry that your boy was so sad that he thought life was not worth living. I grieve for him and for your family! I am glad you have faith, it is something i don’t have and wish i did! All my thoughts and sympathy!! Vicki.

    • Karen Rayner says:

      I have struggled with depression, it feels like all my life. The desire to intentionally end my life was strongest in my 20’s when I had a hard time finding success and fulfillment in my career. After that, I would just envy people who had terminal illnesses or were killed in an accident. A few years ago, a woman my age, with kids my kids’ age, died in a car accident. I felt such compassion for her kids, I repented of my desires to have life be over. I believe this compassion is a gift from the LORD. Young people – you MUST face the fact that your death will hurt your family more than your current struggles. It took me an awfully long time to accept this. Please be smarter than me, and figure out what it takes to LIVE.

      I have worked hard to mind my diet, since the sugar roller coaster affects my thoughts; to exercise; to seek God daily in worship, prayer and reading the Bible. I try to be quicker to forgive – as one author characterized depression as ‘frozen rage’. I do not take emotional well-being for granted.

      As for support – it is useful to have people in my life who check in on how my ‘mood’ is. However, I can understand why depression sufferers cover up their negative feelings. Sometimes ‘fake it till you make it’ helps to have a better day – by shifting the focus to good things. Sometimes well-meaning attempts to cheer me up or fix the problem leave me feeling more alone.

      It does help to have people around who really care. It seems like Jordan’s family really does – always has. If you need to hear it again – this is not your fault. I think I would envy you if I knew you. I trust that our gracious LORD will carry you through this time.

    • Holly says:

      Hi Vicki,
      Thanks for sharing your story as well – I think that the more we talk about what we are walking through, perhaps the more people will realize that these are real feelings – not feelings to be feared, but feelings to be felt. It is difficult, because the feelings that we have when struggling with depression and anxiety are so hard for others who haven’t gone through it to understand. Your feelings are real – but I’m so grateful that you are getting medication and counseling – I know that both of those have made a difference in my life. Praying that you will know to your core that you are loved, valued, and that your life on this earth is important and valuable. Keep fighting through the struggle and know that you have people who do truly understand what you are feeling and are praying for you and a breakthrough. By the way – you can have that faith! 🙂 God wants you in his family – just ask Him!

    • Renitadh says:

      Praying for you, Vicki Henry! Take one day at a time, find someone who will listen, and seek help when you feel desperate and hopeless!!

    • Blaine says:

      Hi Vicki ,
      Jordan, so sad, makes me angry. Seeing his childhood pic broke me.

      I type with tears and pray that you find faith or it finds you. My wee bit of faith makes a difference. Soooooo many times I think that others would be better off if I was gone, or better yet died long ago, or even was never born. It breaks my heart to read of those who lost this battle. All the best.

      Thank you Jordan’s family. I feel so moved and can’t imagine your pain and grief. May God be with you, even if He feels distant. I’m so sorry indeed.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am at one of my lowest places right now. I feel exactly that way. I feel like a drain on my family and on society. I have been researching and thinking about ways to just stop the hurt. But as I lay here, and my mother is upstairs, and I read how this mom felt pain, I don’t want to cause her pain. But I don’t want to be this burden anymore either. This article has at least given me thought. I am sorry for their loss.

    • A Mom says:

      Anonymous – you are not always going to feel this way. Please don’t quit before the miracle happens. I am a Mom as well, and I can tell you that it would destroy your family if you left. Please talk to someone, anyone. There are so many amazing things ahead of you.

    • Holly says:

      Thanks for sharing – praying that you will continue to remind yourself that you are loved, created for a purpose, and that even when you feel like you are a drain on those around you, people are better because you are in their world. You are a blessing, just by being you. So keep fighting. Reach out for help. Some people may not know how to help because they haven’t walked through this before, and don’t understand. But there are people out there that can help and can walk alongside you. There is a brighter future, even though I know there are days when it feels like that is impossible. Praying that you will see how loved you are and that you are not a burden, but that your life is so precious.

    • Deb says:

      Please keep reading. This is the toughest age for your feelings. All your feelings are real, including the one that your death would be a constant pain for your mum for the rest of her life daily. Suicide is so difficult to understand for the living. Jordan’s family has started the conversation that will hopefully pull people like yourself away from the edge. We are not all religious, but we who aren’t still believe that everyone is worth it to at least somebody. Don’t choose a permanent solution to a problem that will subside with proper treatment. Reach out to counselors or call a hot line to talk yourself into another day, week, month, year. Don’t glorify Jordan’s story either. He wasn’t like that. He wasn’t looking for a final bang like we believe some youth suicides are about. Focus on your mum for now and seek help because you are worth it! I know because you have already demonstrated your ability to learn compassion by thinking about the pain you would leave behind.

    • Catherine says:

      I am a mother of 3 beautiful girls. I have one with autism who has said she wished she were dead. I cannot tell you the pain that hearing those words made me feel. As bad as things might seem to you now, tomorrow is another day with the promise of great things – you never know what the future will bring. As a parent of a troubled child, others need to know that your parents do not consider you a burden but a gift. Anonymous, know that you are cared for. Stay strong, you can get through this!!!

      My heart breaks for the Hiemstra family. Take care of yourselves and each other.

  9. Rita Hiemstra says:

    So sorry to hear about the loss of your son, brother, grandson, friend and all that where close to Jordan. Prayers are with you. It is such a sadness this depression. May the Lord give you all comfort as we ask the question, “Why Lord?” Only He knows. May all of the Hiemstra family be surrounded with God’s love.

  10. Jeremy says:

    My deepest condolences for your loss of Jordan, Chris and Christy.

    I feel I must write something, because I just covered this exact topic of mental illness (anxiety and depression) in a university class lecture last night. The course is called Disability and Social Change. I am 39 years old and going back to school to further understand the anxieties teens and young men and women hide, or feel they cannot communicate to parents, friends or possibly coaches, teachers, pastors or youth elders.

    Your story resembles that of Liza Long’s Ted Talk about the frustrations a parent goes through when they either find out too late that their child has a mental illness or the stigma’s associated with knowing they have one. You captured the most frustrating parts, just as Liza Long self-proclaimed “I wish my son had had cancer instead of mental illness, because then at least I could talk to someone openly about it, to share my grief with, and not feel the social stigmas that relate to mental illness.”

    Hearing these statements in Liza’s Ted-talk, and again hearing its echo through your story, crushes me inside. I understand how that wish or prayer is so evident and real in the lives of parents and families of someone who has mental illness. Also that Jordan thought he may have been hurting you and he wanted to save you from more pain. I believe this feeling resonates with so many people that have mental illness, and couldn’t be so far from the truth as you have exclaimed. To many, assuming stigmas keeps this disease from being treated or spoken aloud.

    My prayer is that your message reaches people with mental illness and that they want to talk about it, not hide it. My prayer is that your message reaches people and that they open their hearts to understanding the demanding and difficult pressures of depression and anxiety; that it is not a stigma that renders someone to be seen as weak. My prayer is that the world will understand mental illness, accept it like we have accepted the anguish and perplexing heartache of cancer, so that it can be talked about openly, and so children (teens) do not have to suffer in it alone.
    Please, people who struggle with mental illness, speak up. Tell someone who cares, so you do not have to deal with it alone. Please God, help people to break down the walls of fear and seek help for dealing with mental illness. Please God we pray, end the stigma of mental illness.

  11. Ashley says:

    I am truly sorry for your loss. I thank you for sharing your sons story. Would you consider coming into a high school to share your story?

  12. Jodi & Kevin Walters says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. My husband lost his 18 yr old daughter to brain cancer on June 15, 2009. I myself lost my 31 yr old daughter to mental illness on November 27, 2016. We share your pain. Some days are extremely difficult, others we just get through. But at the end of the day, I know in my heart they are both in God’s comforting arms. Kevin and I are extremely compassionate for childhood cancer and mental illness awareness. You should never have to endure outliving your child. We will advocate for the rest of our lives. Not just for our daughters, but for all.

    God Bless!

  13. Cherie says:

    My heart and prayers go out to you and your family and anyone whose life has been touched by your son or this message. The pain of loss feels unbearable, but I have found that the Lord has been faithful to carry me, hold my hand, and speak and sing comfort into my life through His Word, family, friends, cards, music, worship. Thank you for sharing Jordan’s story so truthfully, through your pain, in order to warn and help others. God bless you.

  14. Reng Verkuyl says:

    Dear family, hard to read the story about your son. Missing him is terrible, but believe that although he ended his life, it still goes on in a better world !
    For you this is depressing , of course, but he is in heaven , and God trust him !
    God died for us, believe in Him ! Try to live with this empty place, but God shares your pain.
    Love from a Dutch family.
    R.verkuyl, Zwanenwater 32, 2152 BM Nieuw-Vennep , Holland.

  15. Kathy says:

    Never give up. Hope will get you through this very sad time. Believe that God is in control and trust that He will give hope to the millions of youth who are in the same position your son was in. I can’t imagine the pain you are going through, as we lost our 51 yr old daughter to cancer and parents are not suppose to outlive their kids. Thanks for sharing your story. It will help others to know that they are not alone.

  16. Jane says:

    As a teenager, I attempted what Jordan succeeded with. I was not thinking of the hole I’d leave behind, but rather how much better off everyone else would be without me. It pains me now to see what I may have caused, but at that time, the pain doesn’t allow you to understand. Now that I have children of my own, I just cant imagine life without them. I believe he is in the arms of Jesus now, who will love him and has taken his pain away.
    I am so sorry for your loss. Keep those fond memories close to your heart for ever, until you meet again. Xxx

  17. Carolyn Lambshead says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. My heart aches for you as we also lost our 19 year old son to suicide and understand the stigma attached. Words are shallow at a time like this but I pray that the loving arms of our Heavenly Father will surround you with strength as your journey continue. The tears may (they haven’t for me) end and a new normal will come into play but the love and hole in your heart will remain. My heartfelt prayers are with you and your family as you try to get through the days, weeks and years ahead.

  18. Linda Hiemstra says:

    My condolences to your family. Thank you for sharing your story and starting a conversation. We have our public and private faces and too often our private faces mask depression. It is time to speak openly about depression and let those suffering know that they are supported and not alone.

  19. Marie says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your son. For many years I suffered from what I now know was severe depression. I have to tell you that I went to many, many counsellors, psychiatrists and doctors before someone finally got it right. It took me going to a mental institution. Everyone thought they could “talk” the depression away. There was nothing wrong with my brain. My brain knew that life was good. My brain knew that I had lots to be very thankful for, that I was physically healthy. I had three beautiful small children who I was their world. The problem was the feeling in the pit of my stomach. You know the feeling when you just find out someone you love has died? That deep feeling of emotional pain? Well, that pain was there every day. Every day. The good days when I was laughing, it was there. So, after spending time with counsellors, they would say, “Does it feel better to talk?” Nope the pain was still there. And one day, I decided that after everyone had tried “their thing” with me, that I no longer wanted to live with that pain. Nobody understood it, until finally, one doctor in a mental institution (after being taken there when I was talking about suicide) diagnosed me with severe depression. You see, my brain was not producing serotonin. Kind of like how a diabetic needs insulin. So he gave me very strong anti depressants, and I had horrible side effects. A wonderful nurse said to me, “These drugs are turning you upside down”. She said “Did you like where you were?” and I said “no”, and she said, “Good, because having medication making such an effect on me would do me great”. I am happy to say that those drugs changed my world. The day I woke up and that dark deep whole in my stomach was gone was when I started to live. I only had to take them for a year and my brain started to work property on its own. What I want people to understand is that if the help you get doesn’t work, move on, and move on, and move on. Someone will get it. You are worth it. Your family is worth is. When I hear of someone taking their own life, I now think how much pain they were in to go that path. My heart goes out to you all. Mental illness is so hard to understand if you have not been in that darkness. Sharing your story is a beautiful gift you are giving, I hope you find comfort in doing so. My prayers are with your family.

    • Tina says:

      I like what you say about keep moving on until you find the help you need – very encouraging for me as I struggle with depression too!
      God bless!

    • Hopeless says:

      I have felt the same way that you described for so long, and no one understands. My husband says that he is depressed, but he keeps going. I can’t deal with it like that. I don’t want to do anything but sleep and stay home. All I want is to be in a dark hole and hope that no one notices so I can disappear. I have often thought about ending my life, but I am not strong enough to do it. And I am not strong enough to deal with life either. I have no idea what to do. I am already on anti depressants and anxiety medications, and they seem to help sometimes but more often than not. I’m glad you found a way out. I am still trying to find mine. My kids are the only things keeping me here. Thank you for sharing, as now I know I am not alone.

  20. Susan says:

    Oh my. I don’t even know the words to say. Your story filled me with such sadness. I have a son Jordan’s age and I just can’t fathom the pain, the ache in the heart, the sadness that must weigh you down like a heavy, wet blanket. I don’t know you, but I am praying for you and your family. I have a daughter with depression, and this makes me want to hug her right now…to see how she’s doing…to somehow, some way, try to help. The sad thing is I know you tried to help Jordan, yet for his young soul, the depression was just too much. I truly, truly pray that you find some comfort in knowing he’s standing there beside his Lord, that his pain is gone, and that he’ll forever be the angel by your side.
    Thank you for sharing your story and for being so honest and real. Sending you love and prayers.

  21. Ralph and Debbie Crandell says:

    In shared this with a gentleman a few weeks back as we visited your farm with our grandchildren…

    In 1990 we lost our precious little boy, Bradley, in a farm accident. Although our experiences are different, our sense of loss is the same. We both lost our children. There is nothing that I can say that can make your pain any less. Nothing that I can say that will remove that pain as you wake up every morning. I sit here with a tear in my eye as I recall those days and feel for you. What I can say to you is that you can and WILL get through this with time. We too have the hope that one day we will see Bradley again. Time does heal. It’s a platitude that no one wants to hear, and it gets used way too much. However, it is true, and with Gods grace,mercy and each tear shed, the days will begin to improve. A “new normal’ will begin to develop and take shape and the “old normal” will pass. Today, we are a family again, minus one. It has changed us forever ,and the lives of our children have been impacted in ways that have shaped their lives (in a good way) forever.
    Someone once said that tears are God’s way of washing the pain away one tear at a time. ( Tear) I guess there is still a little pain to go…but today it is good. Praying for you and your family today.

  22. Mrs Marshall says:

    My heart goes out to you and your family. Depression is not easy to live with. It’s a constant battle, and I am so glad that you are sharing Jordan’s story. Thank you for doing so. I, too, lost an old friend. I know the heartache all too well. We all need to take note and be compassionate to each other as human beings. There are many forms of depression and many causes, but not enough public knowledge or help out there. If you go to the hospital because you’re depressed, they take your license away. This is detrimental to those who are trying to live through it. So many don’t acknowledge that they have a problem, or are scared to say anything due to repercussions. How sad our times are. It is a too fast paced world with way too high of expectations. God Bless. Let’s make a difference.

  23. Lynn Rowsell says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing your story in the hopes of helping others. God bless you all and I send you deepest sympathies.

  24. Sandy says:

    Thank you for your honesty. Your son sounds like a beautiful, warm young man. My thoughts go out to you and your family. Depression is a real illness which often cannot be explained or understood in its entirety. Please know that, as his parents, you did the best you could with the tools you were given. We hope as time goes by, your heart will heal a little more each day. So sad for you all. 💝💝💝💝

  25. Georgina says:

    My heart goes out to you for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story to help others who are struggling with depression. May God use your pain to help others.

  26. Deb Oosterhoff says:

    This so saddens me, as we have a daughter in grade 11 who struggles with depression and anxiety. We have done a full year session with a counsellor and it was very revealing….the things that upset her, and made things worse for her – essentially her peers and school, even teachers!

    Its hard not to pigeon hole all your children into one box and treat them the same. Love them equally easy, but notice different pains. Until this is thrown in your lap, your head just spins.

    While I do not feel your same sense of loss, our first session with the counselor ( private) with just her, I was pulled aside and told that she had contemplated suicide several times, and to search her room for a pill stash. I still weep remembering that moment when I found it and got rid of it. So hard to confront and deal with this as reality. Especially when you think everything is just normal. Since that day, now almost three years ago, I am constantly looking, and it seems like I hover. I get told I don’t trust her.

    So difficult. While we see growth, and some more confidence, there is a tiny part inside of me that still trembles. Yes, we know God holds our children in his hands , under his wings. And we pray. That first year I prayed so much, I felt like others had no space for their needs in Gods chambers because mine certainly filled the rooms.

    Having your child in a Christian school makes you think they won’t feel bullying, or pressure in the same level public schools seem to stumble with. But kids are mean! And pain is easily hidden. No matter their environment. If your child wants to hide their pain they are quite capable. It really put into perspective for me to recognize her different triggers, but also to see how encouraging her talents, and give her a sense of value and worth for not being the athlete the others were, or the academic achiever was helpful. She blossoms now in art class. She has changed her friends; her teachers are now aware and have become her champions(some); and as her and her classmates mature, she knows what to challenge, and what to walk away from. Our communications is better, but she, unlike your son,is an introvert , so conversation can be quite the artful challenge. It’s difficult to make her still feel worthy, valued, and that our conversation is meaningful.
    My heart goes out to you and all other parents who deal with this horrible pain and loss. Happy that you know the peace that passes all understanding, and can fully sense the comfort that only Gods words can bring.

    Sharing this with others not only is cathartic and healing for yourself, as I have learned, but makes other parents aware that while things may seem normal to perhaps seek a little deeper, and have that meaningful conversation. Pay attention to your children. If you sense a red flag, please, please explore further! And do not be afraid to mention suicide, because if they are contemplating it, that conversation could perhaps be a game changer.

    May time heal your pain. May God continue to provide strength. I will raise you and your family in prayers.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for sharing this. Many years of fostering has shown me that actions can hide a different inside person, and we need to continue to reach out, even as they become adults.
      Karen.

  27. Doug Lusk says:

    I miss Jordan, although I never had the pleasure of meeting him. I’m sure he was a warm, caring individual who struggled with issues beyond his control. Every day teenagers struggle with issues and questions for which we have no answer. We must end the stigma of mental health. We must reach deep within our heart, soul and mind to share the importance of sharing our utmost fears with others who care and want to be part of the solution. I thank his parents for their strong convictions to share the events of his tragic end. May a day never pass without the memory of Jordan bringing a smile to your daily journey. For all who may read this, I implore you to seek out a caring person to share your deepest struggles and thoughts whenever you are troubled and feel like you have lost your way. Please remember always – you are loved, you are important and there are people who care and will listen. God bless you Jordan. May your journey on earth and in heaven continue and let the love and joy you brought so many people on earth be remembered forever. Rest in peace.

  28. Joy Huizinga says:

    My sincere condolences to you and the entire family. Thank you for your strength in telling Jordan’s story. Honesty is the best way toward healing and teaching. I applaud you and I hope the days ahead will become easier for you and all your loved ones. Stay strong.

  29. S Devries says:

    Such a sad story! There is help for youth who are struggling…there is online counselling, at http://www.wesforyouthonline.ca/ set up as a result of another young man who died too young. I also highly recommend “mental health first aid” training for any clergy, school staff, coaches or interested parents. Getting the word out there that there is help accessible to teens on their own time and terms may help those who have deliberated but not had the family support/knowledge and counselling that your son had. My heartfelt condolences, and standing beside you in the effort to prevent tragedy from happening to another!

  30. Siska DeVries says:

    I have been wanting to reach out to you for some time! My heart goes out to you, as I know your heart must be broken and hurting by the loss of your precious child! I am so sorry you have to experience this. Children are such a precious gift! It is so difficult to receive such a gift and then have him taken away in such an untimely manner.

    We lost our child at a younger age and under different circumstances, but the hurt is the same. You have no choice but to go on no matter how difficult most days are. Time does soften, but there is always the cloud that follows you.

    It is my prayer that you find solace and strength in your faith and faith community. Warm hugs and much love to you and your children-Jordan’s siblings. Siska DeVries

  31. Harma grit says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. We pray that the Lord will be your strength as you deal with the big hole that is left in your family circle and your hearts . Mental illness is a huge struggle for a lot of people, and finding good help is very difficult to find . We need more Christian counselors in our circles.

  32. Angelina Degelder says:

    You are the very kind of people the world needs more of!
    Strength and comfort in God’s promises – hope in Him will soften your grief and pain.

  33. Darlene says:

    So sorry for your loss. We have been dealing with mental health issues for almost two years with my daughter who is 18. I think the big issue is how to find help and navigate the mental health system. We have counselor and group, and she was in CAMH for 8 weeks in a program which was 3 hours away, to get her the help she needs. CAMH has amazing programs – the sad part is the wait list. We need to wake up the government and get the resources needed for all people dealing with mental health issues and for their families. I don’t think it matters what school you go to. I changed my daughter from main stream to Catholic school and there was no difference in help, resources or understanding. We need to be vocal so no parent has to bury their child. The stigma needs to be broken.

  34. Susan McDonald says:

    My sister-in-law took her life at the age of 43 last year, leaving a huge hole in her children’s lives. I was angry, but try to remind myself that she couldn’t have been able to think it through well enough to see the deep, forever pain she caused her kids.

  35. Marlene says:

    My 23 year old nephew ended his life one year and 3 months ago. The empty place in all our lives is so hard to live with. God is faithful, but the grieving is tough. Blessings and comfort to you and your family. Thank you for speaking out.

  36. Dyann and Bob Birtch says:

    We pray for you often Chris and Christy. We know that God will wrap his arms around you and sustain you and give you peace. You are helping so many people with your honesty and transparency.

  37. Jane says:

    So sorry for your loss. He looks and sounds like a beautiful child of God. Your message is truly beautiful and open, I pray it will be helpful to many. We, too, lost our daughter to suicide at 19, twelve years ago. I agree with everything you wrote. Believe God loves you and so did your son. Don’t let this illness destroy you. Know that you did all you could and you deserve to be happy again.

  38. Jerry Heerema says:

    Your story about your son touched me deeply. I am a supporter of the Christian School movement, as I believe our Lord is in control of all our lives. We sometimes wonder where God is at these dark times in our lives, but rest assured that He will not forsake you in your times of trouble.

    I personally just lost my second wife to blood cancer 23 days ago, and know the pain you experience of knowing you will never see your loved one again here on earth. But I know that she is in heaven now with the other saints and angels, and I will see her again when I pass on to glory.

    Rest in peace and comfort, knowing that the pain of loss has been overcome with the knowledge that Christ cares for all of you, and that you will see your son again in heaven, free of anxiety and depression forever.

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