The Myth that is Valentine’s Day

“Beep. Swoosh. Beep. Swoosh. Beep. Swoosh.”

I sat next to my husband as I stared out the window of the ICU on the third floor at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. I listened as the machines breathed for him and closely monitored his heart. He had made it through one surgery, but many more were to come. His abdomen lay open with only a clear plastic covering over it; I was told this was necessary to continue draining his body of the toxins leaking from his fractured pancreas and to allow surgeons “easy access” should my husband code.

Jeremy in ICU, February 17, 2012.

Jeremy in ICU, February 17, 2012.

I asked the same question over and over. “Is he going to live through this?” Nobody would give any answer other than, “We are going to do everything we can.” They gently handed the papers to me to sign; I knew Jeremy would want to donate his organs if anything could be saved. I signed them wondering if Hudson, age 5, and Asher, age 2, would remember their daddy. That’s the hardest memory, the one that makes me look like this today, January 16, 2016, as I write this post for you. I believe in honesty, I believe in being open with our story for the world to hear, but it’s never easy to relive all the details.

2016-01-16 09.24.19It was February 16, 2012, when I got the call that Jeremy had been in a car accident. We had no idea how bad it was at that time. Jeremy was life-flighted from Cozad, Nebraska to Kearney, Nebraska and then on again to Omaha when doctors discovered the severity of his internal injuries.

Truth be told, I immediately began questioning if Jeremy had done it, if he had succeeded in a suicide attempt.

After being diagnosed with depression in 2009, Jeremy’s mental health continued to deteriorate. To this day, Jeremy has survived five suicide attempts and the near-death car accident in 2012 directly after he began a new depression medication that caused him to black out at the wheel. He went straight into a semi-truck at 60 miles per hour. Yes, I said near-death. Jeremy survived. I’ll never forget his surgeon coming to me after the last surgery; he looked me in the eyes and said, “Aren’t you going to ask me the question?”

I couldn’t breathe anymore. Through gasps and uncontrollable tears, I managed to say, “Is he going to live?” one last time. Dr. Forse smiled and winked. “Yes.”

Jeremy's truck after the accident in 2012.

Jeremy’s truck after the accident in 2012.

Our family on Christmas Eve, 2015.

Our family on Christmas Eve, 2015.

At this point, you are likely wondering what this post has to do with the myth that is Valentine’s Day. You may or may not have noticed the date of Jeremy’s accident, February 16, 2012 – two days after Valentine’s Day.

As I sat in the ICU listening to the machines keep my husband alive, I stared at the last picture of Jeremy and I on my phone.

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It was Valentine’s Day, and it was a reason to tell each other we still love each other, to have a glass of wine together, and to actually get a babysitter and go out for an hour-long meal…just us, just to talk, just to have an excuse to be husband and wife without other distractions. Why? Because it was Valentine’s Day. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do one time a year?

I can’t tell you how disgusted I was staring at this picture as I sat next to my husband while he fought for his life. I remembered taking it over and over because I wanted my nails to look nice. I remembered Jeremy politely going along with my orders as I struggled to get it just right. I wanted the perfect picture to put on social media. My focus wasn’t on enjoying time with my husband, it wasn’t on truly showing him how much he means to me, it was on the world and how they believed our relationship should be.

I listened to the beeps and swooshes as they mocked me. I had become that wife. I had allowed life’s distractions to come before my marriage. I had used Valentine’s Day, one day a year, to make a big deal about my marriage. And even then, I failed miserably. I still didn’t focus on Jeremy, I focused on the fact that it was Valentine’s Day and society told me I was supposed to act a certain way, do a certain thing, and say certain words.

And two days later, two days after I behaved as Valentine’s Day told me I should, I was about to be a widow. This man. This man who had changed everything about me, loved every part of me, even and especially the parts of me I hated, was fighting for his life. Not only that, he fought every single day before this. I just refused to see it. I refused to see the callus, landscaper hands that worked so hard to plant trees and provide for our family. I refused to see the gentle man he became when he sat next to our boys and said bedtime prayers or held a beautiful baby boy in his arms, one he created with me. I refused to put him first, before our children, before our other family members, before our friends. I refused to show him every single day how much he means to me, that my world would stop turning without him. I refused. I had a choice, and I didn’t do it.

But what hurt the most is the fact that I refused to see how hard he fought his depression. Every day, no matter what, he tried with everything he had to get up when his brain told him to stay in bed. He fought his dark thoughts as best he could and chose to believe there had to be some reason, something good about living with depression and suicidal thoughts. There had to be a reason God continued to keep him here on this earth. Every day he fought his brain to still be here and be the man he knew we needed him to be. I realized I’ve never met anyone stronger, anyone with more love or passion in his heart. And I made a big deal over him on one day of the year.

My thoughts overtook me as my sight shifted from staring out the window to the beeping machines and back to my husband.

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Why didn’t I do this every day? Why didn’t I get a babysitter once a week and take time to just be together? Why didn’t I hold him and tell him how proud of him I am, how much I love him for how hard he fights? Why didn’t I hold him and tell him we would get through this hell that is depression together? Why did I let him believe he had to fight this demon alone? He’s human just like me, he needs to know how much I care and that he’s not alone just as much as I do.

I believe Valentine’s Day is a myth. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing to have a day when you celebrate how much you love someone, but to only do it because society tells you to, that’s where the myth comes in. I learned a lesson I was not ready for, I did not want, but I desperately needed. I learned to love my husband. It took me nearly losing him many times to understand, and I pray you will learn from my mistakes. Love each other every day. Take time together. Put your marriage before your children; trust me, it’s the best gift you can give to your children. They will grow to understand love and to know how to love their spouse. Pray together. It is true that we never know when the last “See you later.” on this Earth will be.

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After Jeremy survived five suicide attempts and the accident, we learned we had work to do. We learned the world needed to hear our story. Many need to understand there is hope even in mental illness. Our mission is to provide hope for mental health anchored in Jesus’ promise of eternal life. We will spend our lives thanking God for allowing us the chance to continue being a family. Jeremy continues to fight his depression daily, but we have learned how to take what Satan meant for evil and use it for God’s good. Read our story in “Never Alone: A Husband and Wife’s Journey with Depression and Faith” by Jeremy and Bailey Koch. Follow us by liking Jeremy and Bailey Koch on Facebook. We share our life because we live a reality so similar to so many. We have found hope and healing, and we pray the same for you. We have learned to live, not just stay alive.

~ Jeremy and Bailey Koch
January 16, 2016

To 911 – “I Can’t Find My Son.”

A parent’s worst nightmare. And today, I believed it had happened to me.

“911. What’s your emergency?”

“Oh God! I can’t find my son. I can’t find him. He’s with another little boy. ASHER!!!”

“Okay, mam. It’s okay. Where are you?”

“I’m in Cozad. They were playing. Oh, please God. They were playing in the back yard and they’re gone. They’re gone! ASHER!!!”

“Okay. It’s okay. We’re going to help. Can you tell me your address?”

“Oh, God. I should have checked on them more. I’m not home. I’m driving around trying to…”

“It’s okay. I’m getting the police…”

“ASHER!!! WHERE ARE….OH GOD! I FOUND THEM!!! ASHER!!! I FOUND THEM!!! I’m sorry!

“Oh thank God. Okay. It’s okay mam. It’s okay. I’m so glad…”

“ASHER!!! Oh thank God!!! You get your ass in this car right now! You scared…”

I shifted my car and jumped out so fast that my van kept moving backward. Reverse. Not park. Try again. I jumped back in my moving vehicle and shifted up one more. Car stopped. I ran as fast as I could to my little boy and his friend, screaming every curse word that came to my mind, screaming at these beautiful boys covered in ditch water (where they had decided to escape for play time) that they scared us to death.

Truth be told. I did not handle today well.

Yes, we had a happy ending today. Yes, they are okay. But those 15 minutes of running around, driving around, and screaming at the top of our lungs for our six-year-old were undoubtedly the longest of my life.

I didn’t protect him. I should have checked on him more. I should have…

Every part of me truly believed someone had taken him, someone had harmed the innocent hairs on his head. Someone had my son.

The ditch. Am I looking for a body? What if he slipped and hit his head… He’s so little. We’ve talked about strangers. But would he do it? Would he get in a car with someone?

I tried to pray, but I believed so hard that someone had taken him, all I wanted to do was hurt whomever had him.

I’ll kill them. If someone hurts my baby. I’ll do it.

I can’t even believe my mind was capable of thinking this way. For 31 years of life, I have said I will act one way, I will do one thing, I will say these words, all if I were to experience what they experienced. I won’t judge someone. I could never hurt someone. I could never want another person to suffer no matter what they did.

And today, I learned the true reality of the terror of losing a child. I learned I had no control. I learned what my mind is capable, or incapable, of. 

The panic overtook everything in my body. I did not think clearly. I had never had so much energy in my life. It has now been over two hours since our terrifying 15 minutes, and I still can’t calm down. But what is baffling is I can’t believe what my brain thought, what my conversation with the 911 operator consisted of, and especially what I honestly believed to be true. I thought nothing good. Everything in my brain told me the worst case scenario. And now, I sit here trying to process it all.

The fear took over every logical thought in my mind. It dominated my thinking, my prayers, even my words. I was the crazy woman who the 911 operator couldn’t understand. I was the mother who believed I had lost my son.

So now I sit here and wonder, could I forgive someone who may hurt my child? Could I be the Christian I claim to be. Could I put my fears completely on God? Could I find good in losing my child? In that moment when I believed Asher was gone, I failed miserably.

I do not know if my mind is capable of forgiving someone who would hurt my child. I do not know how my world would keep turning if I lost my child. I do not know how I would react if I ever lose my child. I do not know…

None of us know. We do not know how we would feel, how we would react, what we would do, until we experience it ourselves. And even then, it’s not the same. I learned a terrifying lesson today. It was not a wanted lesson, but I understand why it happened. I needed to be humbled again. I needed to realize I am not strong enough without my God, without support.

Most importantly, I am not in control, even of my children’s destiny.

What many of us do have in common is our faith and the fact that many of us are parents. So now I know, all I can do is pray. I can pray for my ability to be a good mother, and to behave and act with grace using His truth. I can pray God will take my parenting anxieties. I can pray God will protect my boys and give me the strength to be everything they need.

So after my lesson today…

Heavenly Father,

I pray for the strength to look to You, to look to the good before ever choosing to first believe the evil. Today, I failed at this, and I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t give you my fears immediately. I pray I have learned my lesson. I pray I can truly forgive as I say I will. I pray I will not judge another or believe I would know how I would react in any situation. I especially pray for your protection over my children. I pray for the opportunity for my children to outlive me. I pray for those whom have lost children, please give them peace, strength, and grace. Please surround them with people who will love them and fill them with Your truth. Please give us all the strength and peace to think of You first.

I’m not strong enough to be a parent without You. And today, I let my parenting fears overtake me.

In Jesus’ Name.

Amen.

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Advice to My Boys: 12 Non-Negotiables

Hello boys. This is your mother. A few things in the media have recently caught my attention, and as a mother and a teacher, I will tell you that I am absolutely disgusted by parenting anymore. I know what happens as a result of parents believing their children are perfect; I have seen it in my classroom. And I refuse to be the mother who ever allows this to happen.

So here is my news flash to you, you are not perfect. And when you mess up, I will back you up, but only to take your biscuits to jail if that’s what needs to be done.

When you were very young, screaming in a restaurant resulted in my hauling you to the bathroom to wash your mouth out with soap or standing outside with you in the heat for 30 minutes while you kicked and screamed. I’m not sorry. Because those people sitting with friends and family in the restaurant deserve to not listen to my child scream. When you smacked your brother, I smacked your butt. I’m not sorry. Feeling exactly how it feels when you hit him helps you grow empathy for others and learn to control your anger. When you slammed your door so many times that it broke the trim, I took your door until you learned how to count to ten rather than breaking my house. I’m not sorry. That lesson helped you learn respect for property. When you tore parts of the city’s snow fence from across the street to use as weapons, I stood behind the local policeman who caught you and we came up with a plan for how you would pay for the fence. I’m not sorry. And watching you about crap your pants as our extremely intimidating police officer walked toward you was payment enough for me…actually, it was freaking hilarious. Then I truly enjoyed watching you pick up trash in local city parks as more punishment to be sure you understood respect for property. Again, I’m not sorry.

I love being mom of boys, but the responsibility of raising respectful young men comes with a lot of pressure.

I love being mom of boys, but the responsibility of raising respectful young men comes with a lot of pressure.

I get it, you are exactly like your mother. We tend to be hot-headed and quick to react. But the best part is, being your mother and teaching you how to control that part of you has helped me learn to control that part of me. There is a lot of danger in any parent believing we are done learning. I know I’m messing up every day, but I’m trying my hardest to help you understand that we are all human. You will mess up. So will I. And we will back each other up because we are navigating this life together.

There is a lot of power in two words: acceptance and respect. Accept the fact that you are not perfect. You will make mistakes and you will fall on your face. I will ALWAYS be there to support you, but remember that my job is to help you LEARN. Respect the fact that I am older than you and I have done more than you can possibly imagine yet. That is why I will allow you to make mistakes and I will never pretend that I am perfect. But there is this whole other issue with respect that must be addressed, so I’m warning you now.

If you do not learn respect for yourself, for your friends and family, for property, and for strangers, you are in for an extremely sad life. But learn respect, and you will gain that respect from others. You will be a happy and contributing member of society who treats others with kindness and empathy; that is my prayer for you.

Our boys are 9 and 6 this year.

Our boys are 9 and 6 this year.

So here is my advice (a warning, perhaps) to you, my boys, as you are growing older. And it all has to do with how I plan to help you learn respect:

1. I repeated “NO MEANS NO” to you millions of times for a reason. It doesn’t only apply to me, it applies to every female you will ever come in contact with. If I hear you disrespected that, I will dress up like a fairy princess and show up at Homecoming or your work place to visit you.

2. If I hear that you were at all involved in any type of bullying, I will escort you to the home of the person whom was feeling victimized and personally ensure that you ARE SORRY and that you will NEVER make another human being feel less important than you again. This goes for standing and doing nothing while your friends are engaging in bullying; that is the same. You are just as much at fault.

3. Manners never become less important; in fact, it’s the opposite. When you are in my home, I expect you to say please and thank you and open doors. This becomes even more important when you are out of my home. One day, you will have a girlfriend. I want to see the sparkle in her eye when she sees that you naturally open doors for her without thinking. If you don’t, I will come out and do it for her to show her that I taught you better than that.

4. Girls are not “hot”, they are beautiful. Girls are breathtaking and are naturally self-conscious. You have watched me struggle with my own self-image for years. And you, my sweethearts, have helped me overcome it with your child-like innocence and your definition of beauty because you are looking at your mother, someone you know to love you unconditionally. Look at women like that; never lose that part of you that I love so dearly. Look at girls as the perfect beings they are. Tell her she is beautiful; don’t wait for her to ask for your approval.

5. Wait. Please, just wait. Do you want honesty? I tried to throw myself at your father when we began dating in high school because that is the only way I knew to get boys to like me. Know what he did? He said no to me; he told me he didn’t need that from me to show me he loves me. He saw my vulnerability, and he chose not to take advantage. Your daddy stole my heart that night. He hurt my pride (or what I thought to be pride at that point in my life), but he stole my heart, and he set the tone for our entire relationship. We didn’t wait before we found each other. But we learned from our mistakes and we waited for each other to be ready for that incredibly intimate part of life. Then, when daddy was ready, my self-worth had grown to the point where I understood I was worth the wait. So we waited more. We waited until our wedding night, and it was the best decision we ever made for our relationship. Please be like your daddy. Please. There is a reason God reserved that right for marriage, and I learned it first-hand.

Jeremy and I had been dating for a little over a month in this picture...I was 16 (junior in high school) and he was 18 (senior). :-)

This is your daddy and I about two hours before he told me no. I fell in love with him that night. I was 16 and he was 18. (February 2001)

6. When you make a mistake, own up. Attempting to cover your tracks only makes the situation worse. When you accept that you made a mistake and you genuinely apologize for it, learning and respect take place.

7. If you impregnate anyone, ever, know that you are now your own family. Do not ask me to raise your child for you. Do not ask me for the money to support your family. I will help you, but I will not be a man for you. At some point, we all need help. But at some point, we all have to learn how to ask for help without expecting it.

8. Nobody owes you anything…ever. Do good out of the goodness of your own heart and expect nothing in return. God will reward you in different ways. Do not expect that another person’s definition of doing good is the same as yours. Abide by the Golden Rule; one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

9. Pride is your biggest enemy. Your satisfaction should come in knowing that others love and respect you as a man of God, as a family man who puts his family’s needs before his own, and as a man who will always help someone in need. A man is not measured by his achievements. Give the glory to God. He is who made you who you are; follow Him and He will make your paths straight.

10. Understand that this life is not about you. This life is about doing good and sharing love with others. The sooner you learn that, the sooner you will learn to let the little things go, to love God above all else, and to love your family above all things society tends to hold important.

11. When you become a husband, remember two things:

 (a). Your relationship with your wife is most important of all, but still just behind your relationship with Christ. You are the example being set in your home. Love her. Never stop flirting. Go on dates. Do not be candid about your love for her in front of your children. And support her in every way.

(b). Your children will learn how to treat others by your example. So refer to all advice above. On these things, I am right.

12. Your relationship with God is the most important of all of these, and that is why it is last on my list…because I want it to be the first thing you remember when reading this. You know what we have been through as a family, because you have lived it. We have hope in Christ, and all glory goes to God. He is why we are still a family today. He makes us strong.

Never Alone: A Husband and Wife’s Journey with Depression and Faith” is the first work by Jeremy and Bailey and is available for purchase in paperback from the authors directly or in eBook format on Amazon. Thank you for your support of our mission to help the world understand the reality of severe depression, suicide, and unseen illnesses.

When God Tells You to Slow Down…

This is my “baby”. But, as you can probably tell, he isn’t so much a baby anymore. He’s almost six years old.

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Asher (almost 6) when he was first admitted to his hospital room on 4.16.15.

Asher has been the picture of health since he was born. He has only been on antibiotics a handful of times in his entire life and generally gets over illnesses quickly. You can also probably tell that this picture was taken from Asher’s hospital bed. On Thursday night, after Asher had been complaining of a sore neck for a few days, my husband and I found a large and very painful lump had formed on Asher’s neck just under his right ear. Now I don’t know much about lumps that appear out of nowhere, but what I do know is not good. And this lump was very painful.

I scooped up Asher and drove the seven blocks from our home to our local Cozad Community Hospital Emergency Room. I could see the terror in Jeremy’s face too; we were in very unknown territory. My mind immediately went to the horrible things a growth like this could be on my child. Is this cancer? What if they can’t get it to shrink and it cuts off his airway? The true issue is that these are real possibilities and have been all too real for too many parents; I didn’t want to be one of them.

I’m very proud of myself though. While waiting, it would have been very easy to get on my phone and search “growth in neck” on Google. But I knew what I would find. I would find terrifying and inaccurate information from people providing opinions or asking questions to other unqualified individuals. I resisted the urge to search. As I texted information to Jeremy, who stayed home with our older son, he informed me his research was revealing this is likely an infection and benign. Jeremy could not resist the urge to search, but fortunately he is one who knows where my weaknesses are; he never would have shared terrifying possibilities with me in that moment. He chose to give me hope and positivity instead. My husband and I are complete opposites; where I am strong, he is weak. And where I am weak, he is strong. It works. And I thank God for him every day.

Daddy entertained Asher with legos in his hospital room 4.17.15.

Daddy entertained Asher with legos in his hospital room 4.17.15.

Thankfully, I was blessed with a very calm nurse and doctor taking care of Asher. In order to rule out scary options, it was decided we would have to take blood, run tests, and immediately begin IV antibiotics to fight what obviously was nasty inflammation. Unfortunately, Asher’s blood wasn’t flowing easily and the poor kid had to be poked and prodded more than six times in two days to get the samples needed. But, I will make a very long story short and tell you, after two nights in the hospital, Asher’s lump on his neck has decreased in size dramatically. He was diagnosed with strep throat that caused a swollen and infected lymph node. We received amazing care and were truly blessed to have hundreds of friends and family members praying for us as we were terrified for our boy. We are home now, and I have learned a lesson.

Slow down. Life has a way of getting very fast and overwhelming. Before you know it, you’re telling your child to hold on for a second while you check for that precious email or post. Life is full of adventures, but the family God blessed me with is my greatest adventure by far. These are the people who will be by my side, and have been, from the most terrifying to the most rewarding experiences. And our ride is not over. So God told me to slow down. We can help others and we can achieve our dreams, but we don’t have to be finished by tomorrow. And we can involve the people who love us and support us the most.

We know how precious life can be because we have been forced to imagine what life would be like without those we love. While it sounds excruciating, I recommend everyone do this. Just try it. Picture a life without those people you love. You’ll learn quickly to rely on God, to trust Him, and to be more open than you ever thought you could be in an effort to have more people praying for you and your family in tough times. You’ll learn to let the little things go and put the focus back where it should be.

We all need reminded sometimes. Right now I am typing and listening to my five-year-old belly laugh at a movie in our living room. It is the sweetest sound ever and I have been reminded that God surrounded me and blessed me with these marvelous sounds. So I will embrace them. I will not take advantage of them. I will treasure them. I will slow down and live life for God and for my family. Don’t worry, I still plan on saving the world, but with them by my side feeling completely supported and loved.

Asher Lane gets to go home 4.18.15!!!

Asher Lane gets to go home 4.18.15!!!

An angel in human form…

God sent me a sign…and a new friend…today.

So if you know me, you know patience is not one of my virtues. I am not a patient person…period. We’re talking not even a little bit. Understand my point yet? Because I don’t have the patience to keep explaining it if you don’t.

So you can probably imagine how well I’m handling the printer setback we had. “Never Alone” was almost done printing and we were actually going to hold it in our hands…after three years of writing and then waiting for it to actually happen. And then we had another holdup. We just want the book in our hands. We want to be able to get it to as many people as we can. We know there are so many who need to understand they are never alone. But we also are beginning to understand we can help in many ways. The book is not God. Our goal is to help people understand, to support those suffering…the book is not the only way to do that. Yes God is using us to spread His good. And today He sent us another sign.

The day started out very busy. We had every intention of really sleeping in and being lazy this morning; it seemed a good day to just chill out and catch up after a long weekend of tons of faith, fun, and family. But at 8:15, a semi truck rolled up to our house (note that we live 20 feet from our landscaping and greenhouse services business…Natural Escapes in Cozad). He was loaded with 41 trees and it was time to unload. We began and 8:30 and quickly learned these trees were not only huge, they were completely water saturated…which means they were three times as heavy to move as they normally would be. With me operating the Multitrac (our loader) and my husband climbing in and out of the bucket loading and unloading trees, Jeremy and I were finally done at 10:40. I was exhausted…and Jeremy had done all the manual labor. I just drove a loader. So I can’t even imagine how tired he was! After that, I cleaned up the house (dishes, laundry, vacuuming, a bit of back yard spring cleaning) and dealt with an extremely cranky and stubborn 8-year-old who was pretty sure my grounding him for being disrespectful and mouthy was the end of his entire world. So I truly punished myself by punishing him. The weather was dreary, the attitudes were flying…it was not a good day.

So I walked outside ready to just be cranky, and I saw him. An older gentleman sat on our stump next to my minivan in front of our house. He looked around 70 years old and there was no car to be seen. He explained that he was on a mission to find something, but it became more clear he just needed a friend. I sat with him as he told me about his “lady friend” in another state and his beautiful plans to buy every empty building in Cozad and revitalize the town. From time to time in between and during his stories, I watched tears fall from his eyes. He had walked all around town and his water cup was empty. So I asked if he would like some. I went in and filled his cup he had carried with him with ice and fresh water and brought it back out to him. I still had two boys testing me as I chatted with my new friend, and I smiled when this gentleman looked at my oldest and said, “Didn’t you hear your mom? She told you to knock it off.” I love having parenting support. Hudson just looked at me with a “Can he say that to me?” look. Yes, he can, my son. He’s got more life experience than the four of us combined.

Finally, I asked this man where his tears were coming from. He replied, “Well when you talk to somebody real…” Then I couldn’t stop the tears. I understood.

After about an hour of our chatting, he decided he best walk back home, but he was exhausted and beat up, and I knew God brought him to me for a reason. He told me who he was living with and who his children were, a wonderful family here in town and I knew of them well. So I loaded him up in my van and drove him across town to his home. As we turned the corner leaving my home, he revealed something I had seen in his eyes when he first appeared in front of our home.

“I just got out of the mental hospital in Kearney.”

My response was, “My husband has been in there twice. I get it. It’s not easy to live with depression.”

“That’s what I have. Manic depression. I think about suicide every day.”

“I know. I can see it because we live it. But it’s a lot worse when you think you’re alone.”

I told the man about our book and what we lived and we talked about how God had obviously put us in one another’s lives for a reason. Tears continued to flow. I dropped him off where he lives and chatted with his son for a few minutes. What a beautiful family. To you…you know who you are…you are never alone. God is always with you. Support and love. We are always here for you as well because we know what that life is like…we know how hard it can be. But it gets better. We can be here to support you in lots of ways…one of those ways is to just be someone who will listen when you need to talk. The gentleman ended our conversation with, “When that book comes, I want one. And I want you to sign it. And I want your husband to sign it. And I want your kids to sign it.”

You got it, JJ. I didn’t just help you today. You helped me too.

You helped me understand we can help in lots of ways. There are lots of ways to help those suffering understand none of us are ever alone. Sometimes it’s just listening to your heart and allowing God to use you to support those He loves…everyone.