We are a little more than a week away from the beginning of a new decade. Like it or not, it happens every ten years.
Writing this email, at this time, is difficult. Our mission deals with a topic that is hard for many of us to discuss. But is a topic we must discuss.
I want to take a moment during this season of reflection to reflect.
When we lost Baron a little over a year and a half ago, we decided we didn’t want his life to have been in vain. We wanted to do something to help others avoid the hopelessness that we sometimes feel…feel too often.
There are many things I can say about Baron. You will hear more periodically during the year about him and others who have been lost to suicide and about families and friends who have survived losses.
For now, during this season of giving, I want to share part of what we, and others, know about Baron.
Baron was a very giving person. He went into the world of EMS at an early age. His life experiences there and elsewhere developed in him a heart for helping others.
One of Baron’s desires was to help people who were living with PTSD. He particularly wanted to work with children who were living with PTSD.
Following and during his time with Richland County EMS, Baron was interested in starting a program to help his fellow co-workers who were living with the effects of PTSD. His attempts start a peer group were met with some resistance, but he and a few others tried to get something going.
His efforts to give of himself, to help others, extended beyond his time with Richland County. Baron was medically retired from the county after he suffered a broken back. However, he persevered and went on to get his degrees from CIU, one of which was in psychology.
He continued to give of himself, while living with the horrible stories of patients and clients while working with a couple of agencies during the years following his graduation.
There are two short examples that show the giving nature of our son that I want to share with you today.
First, Baron and some men from a Bible study he enjoyed were at breakfast one day following their morning study. A young homeless man approached as they were leaving the restaurant. He shared his need for help and the men prayed with him. They ended up getting the man a room at a hotel and Baron, even though he didn’t have much money at the time, bought clean clothes and toiletries for the man.
The other story occurred after Baron’s death. Janet was shopping somewhere and began talking with a lady in the store. It got around to Janet telling the lady about Baron.
The lady asked if Baron drove a black truck and did he have a large white dog. Janet confirmed that he did and the lady went on to share her on story with Janet.
She said that her car had broken down one day on a rural, but busy road. She said many cars had passed and she had been there quite a while. She went on to tell how Baron had stopped and called for help and stayed with her the entire time it took for someone to get there who could help her.
These were not rare or unusual stories about Baron. There are many other instances where he gave of himself. He had a giving and compassionate heart. I know that he is the presence of God. Knowing this, it is still very difficult for us, the survivors.
Challenges and exciting times are ahead as we move forward with our mission to help others navigate the losses of their own loved ones to suicide and as we aim to help eliminate the stigma often felt by survivors.
To learn more about our plans, visit our website (a work in progress) at www.LeftAtTheGate.org. Please be sure to return often, as we will be adding new resources, stories, photos, and other information constantly.
You will soon find exciting information there on new programs, partnerships, the beginning of LOSS teams, and an event we are planning for 2020.
Please consider Left At The Gate during this season of giving. We are grateful for all of our partners. Suicide affects too many people. If you would like to help us as we reach out to encourage and offer hope to suicide loss survivors, please visit us at LeftAtTheGate.org.
You may also send checks to Left At The Gate, Post Office Box 90975, Columbia, South Carolina 29290. We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
Thank you for your support. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!