While many people were celebrating Valentine’s Day with gifts of affection and love, mine was a different celebration. Where many received gifts of chocolates and flowers and some special ones received a ring and a vow of forever, I received a razor. See my son suffers from depression and suicidal thoughts. He has never been one for Valentine’s Day as he has never had a Valentine. He is a good looking young man with a great big heart, yet considered one of the “good guys” that most young ladies choose to “friend” versus entering into a relationship. Now, that is not the sole cause of his depression, just one of the many issues that suppresses him.

Living with someone who suffers from depression and suicidal thoughts (and those who have actually made attempts) is very difficult, to say the least. As a mother, it is an added weight. I suffer from feelings of uselessness. Meaning, a mother’s heart is typically one that would do anything to save and protect her children. Yet in this situation, I find there is little I can do outside of love my son unconditionally.

Yes, I pray continually. I believe my son belongs to God first, and foremost. Thus, I know that God loves my son beyond what I ever could and know that is what gives me the most peace. I have taken my son for therapy and counseling. I administer his meds daily. Yet, I cannot control his thoughts and actions. I, also, cannot live in fear. The fear of is this the day he will try and succeed to take his life. Is this the day he will lose all hope and believe that taking his life is the only way to his peace.

So this Valentine’s Day, instead of worrying about my son home alone—to depressed to go to his college classes, I went to work. I stopped and bought him a basket of goodies and a card. I tried to focus on the goodness of God versus worrying when my son did not immediately respond to my text or call. I arrived home, knowing he was well – God has him. He looked down but he does often. We went to eat and when we got home, I showered him with his gifts. His gift to me was a razor. One he found that seemed to answer the nagging thoughts in his head that today would be the day he ended his misery and relieved his mother of the supposed burden of worry about him.

I have to say I was so angry. I was angry he had these thoughts. I was angry he thought this was the only way. I was angry that we were still fighting this battle. I was angry that he didn’t think my love for him was enough to stay in this world and that he didn’t think he would be missed. I was angry that I could do nothing to change this situation. I was angry that his dad was not around to affirm him. I was angry that I was alone or felt alone in this situation. I was just angry and I expressed that to him. He apologized for being weak. That made me angry. He apologized for his situation. Then I expressed my love for him, which he affirmed is the only reason he is still in this world. My anger turned into thanksgiving.

See everyday my son chooses life over death is a day to celebrate. Everyday that I can fuss at him and love on him is a day that I rejoice as we have conquered another battle. I know that we will soon win the war of this depression. I know my son has purpose in this life and I know I was given this young man as my son for a purpose as well. So instead of grieving over the challenge of each day, I choose to celebrate. I am thankful he gave me the razor versus using it on himself. I am thankful he chose to talk to me versus isolating himself. I am thankful that for another day, my prayers have been answered.

It is not easy living and caring with someone who has depression but it is much better than living without them and having to deal with the violent absence and void. Daily, I am reminded to celebrate life. To celebrate the small victories, knowing these will lead to greater victories. To trust God to preserve that which I cannot control. And even more, to remember I am not alone and my story can encourage another mother who is struggling with a similar issue.

Choose to love and not fear.

Choose to encourage the small victories and keep communication lines open. Look for the signs that someone is falling deeper and don’t be afraid to get help – not just for the person with depression but also for the person caring for them. Finally, know you are not alone. Depression is not a subject talked about openly in many families or circles, but it should be, as this will provide support verses isolation. Get the help and support you need to help the person you love survive another day.