Now, I Walk for My Son
I am walking in honor of my son Ryan Lazovitz.
My son struggled with mental illness for several years. We did seek help during this time. I left no stone unturned. Ryan was the most amazing and loving baby. He was a joy and always made me proud. He grew into an amazing young man. A phenomenal athlete: karate, tennis, baseball, surfing and basketball. He loved it all.
At about 13 to 14 years old, everything changed. I saw sadness. A sadness that broke my heart. As a mom I did everything I could to help him. We had ups and downs for years. He attempted suicide a few times and we got him the best help we could find. My fear was what would happen when he turned 18. When I was no longer included in every important decision that would affect his health and wellbeing. I prayed I did everything I could to help — help him as he became a man.
At 18 years old, struggled with depression, bipolar and ADHD, he had a hard time advocating for himself. Ryan entered a facility and I was shut off from communication from him, the doctors and treatment. I went from being 110 percent involved to nothing. He was not prepared for this.
Because of my experience, I feel strongly about the fact that as parents we are no longer involved once our children turn 18. Yes, they are still our children and as his parent I wanted to do my best to help him. Because of his age, I was no longer allowed to help my son advocate when deep depression overtook him. He started spiraling and couldn’t find a way back.
My beautiful boy took his life two days after Christmas. Eleven months ago. He was 18.
The thought of never seeing him again still scares me. Sometimes reality hits me in waves and some days I either ride them out or frantically try to grasp for air.
I had Ryan at 23. We grew up together. And now I’m left with a part of my heart missing. Never the same again.
But I will still be his voice. And a voice for others. I know have post-traumatic stress disorder. I will be the voice for those who do not have one. For all the young adults who died too soon. I will fight so that other loving parents can be there for their children.
For now, I walk for Ryan.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
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