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Now, I Walk for My Son

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I am walking in honor of my son Ryan Lazovitz.

A young man hugging his little sister

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.

A woman and her son at the beach

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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Originally published: December 9, 2016
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