I’ve shared my heartbreak on social media, but I realize I haven’t posted anything on the blog in quite a long time, so for those of you who only hear from me when a new blog post pops up in your inbox, this may be the first time you’re hearing the terrible news that my brilliant, beautiful, 18-year-old son, Jamison, lost his life to mental illness in early January.

I am undone.

I count time without him on Earth in exactly the same way I counted time when arrived as a baby; first in hours, then in days, now in weeks. Eight weeks. And I wonder if next month I’ll say, “Jamison has been gone for three months”, or if I will drag it out the way some new moms do, continuing to count his afterlife in weeks until I’m that weird chick in the Starbucks line talking too loudly about something that happened, like, 95 weeks ago. I doubt it, but fuck it, maybe I will become a total weirdo. I mean, who can really say what kind of woman I’ll be 95 weeks from now? The truth is, since the day Jamison left, every minute has become an uneasy exploration of who I am in light of this thing we call, for lack of a better term, “moving forward”. This is entirely unknown territory for me. I really don’t know what I’m doing or how to do it, and I’m just guessing here, but I’m pretty sure that there is no right way to keep going, no defined path to follow, no guidebook for forging ahead after a loss this deep and devastating.

If I had a choice, I’d be moving backward. If it were possible, I would go back and I would fix it. I would do better. I would do more. I would do it all differently. If only I could go back. But, the thing is, even if I travel back in time, I don’t know where exactly I would need to land in order to save my son. I mean, not just to prevent his death, but to truly save  him – to protect him from the all the years of pain and suffering and turmoil that ultimately led to his decision to leave us early. I’ve thought about it a lot (Sometimes I can’t stop thinking about it.), but there are so many forks in the long road of retrospect that I just can’t seem to find the one that would change everything.

In the end, it doesn’t matter. Because I don’t get a choice and I don’t get a do-over and moving forward without my beloved son is the only road left in front of me.

So here I am.

And it fucking sucks.

It’s probably hard to imagine that a person could feel a single ounce of gratitude in the midst of losing a child, but I do. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever been more grateful for the love of the people in my daily life, for the support of my faraway friends, or for the kindness of internet strangers. The speed, strength, and numbers in which my people showed up (and continue to show up) for me and for my two living sons in the aftermath of this catastrophic loss feels nothing less than divine. I know we’re supposed to roll our eyes and scoff when offered such trivial things as “thoughts and prayers” during our darkest hour, but I am truly grateful to have been the subject of so many. I’ve read every email, every private message, every comment, every tweet, and every card you sent, and I’ve received every one of your gifts (financial and otherwise) with a grateful heart. People have reached out in so many different ways, I really can’t begin to express my thanks, but if you’re one of them, please know that my family and I have been deeply moved by your kindness. It helped. I mean that.

Most of all, I am eternally grateful for everyone who knew and loved Jamison during his all too short life. I’m so grateful for how many of his friends stopped by the house to laugh and cry and tell us amazing stories in the days following his passing. I’m beyond thankful for those who sent pics of my tall, blond boy in texts and emails, and for those who wrote quick notes and long letters and put them in my hands, and for those who honored his memory in a million other special ways after they learned of his death. This is the gift that I cling to on days when despair would otherwise swallow me whole; Gratitude in knowing that Jamison loved the people around him so well and was well-loved by so many.

I’m learning that sometimes moving forward includes a lot of looking back…yes, to wonder what might have been…but, also, to see what really was. And Jamison really was amazing.

I’m grateful I got to be his Mom.

Truly blessed to receive this original work by Makoto Fujimura (The Four Holy Gospels),
sent in honor of Jamison.

“We, today, have a language to celebrate waywardness, but we do not have a cultural language to bring people back home.”

~Makoto Fujimura



  1. Catherine Anne Glanz on March 8, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    My thoughts are with you constantly as I grapple with your devastating loss. It’s just plain wrong and it sucks big time. I’m so sorry.

    • Brigitte Huber on September 7, 2019 at 4:19 am

      I’ve just found you online today, and just learned of your loss. So deeply sorry. Words fail.

      • Karen on August 24, 2020 at 5:18 pm

        I haven’t read your blog in a while so this is first I’ve heard about your son’s death. Please accept my condolences, love & prayers. Life is so unbelievably hard sometimes. Gratitude helps make it bearable. May God continue give your family many reasons to be grateful.

    • Angelina on November 22, 2019 at 1:28 pm

      Jamie I just think ur wonderful ❤️ Thank you for simply being you 🙏

    • Gemma Crane on April 16, 2020 at 12:49 am

      I found your blog this morning and read this post. I’m in the middle of grief myself, so my tears flowed constantly as I read this. My thoughts really are with you. Xx

  2. Jdawsonii on March 8, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

    • Natalie on April 17, 2020 at 9:02 pm

      I’ve just discovered your blog and this was the first post I read. It made me cry for you and Jamison and then I cried for me and how crazy I’m feeling locked up in my house. And then I cried for the whole world during this crazy quarantined time. Blessings to you and yours!

  3. Christine Johnson on March 8, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    I think you are the very best missionary.

    • Lise on April 23, 2019 at 5:34 pm


    • LeaAnna Miller on April 27, 2019 at 5:35 pm

      So much love sent your way ❤️❤️❤️

  4. Niki Turner on March 8, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    My heart goes out to you. I feel your pain and understand the outpouring of gratitude in the midst of grief. Our small town wrapped us love and continues to reach out. So sorry you’ve joined this club. Grace for the broken places.

  5. Kate on March 8, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    My heart is with you. I lost my sister to mental illness, 3 years ago. She was 12 years younger than me (21) and she was Autistic. How I wish that would have been her only trial in life. But she was also severely mentally ill. We couldn’t save her. Even with all the medical intervention available to us with 3 forms of medical insurance and doctors in 2 states. Actually, it was the medicine that wore out her exhausted body. Because side effects can be life-threatening. Without that medicine, she undoubtedly would have ended her own life. She tried in several horrifying ways. We did everything we could do, including sending her to the PNP Center in Dallas, and she still died. I don’t know what to say about that, except that I believe she completed her mission and I think the amount of pain in her life would rival that of many elderly people. In the beginning, I felt that each hour, week, and day took me farther from her. But in reality, I am 3 years closer to seeing her again. In 95 weeks, you will be 95 weeks closer to completing your mission and reuniting with him. That probably doesn’t bring much comfort. I am so sad with you and for you. I hate this for you, but it is not your fault.

  6. Russell Clark on March 8, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    Jamie, I weep with you.

  7. Amy Olson on March 8, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing pieces of you. Maybe you will never be whole again…but let Jamison’s brilliancy, love and fondest memories fill the void in your heart.

  8. Kerry Gillette on March 8, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    I’m staring at my newborn daughter, acutely aware of the fact that nothing on this earth is guaranteed other than God’s love. I don’t know where you’ll be in 95 weeks, but I know that you will be a force of advocacy for mental health to be reckoned with. And as a clinician, that’s something I’m grateful for. I’ll be right there in the trenches with you (with my 97 week old on my hip, of course).
    You are loved, am so glad that you have felt that so deeply.

  9. K on March 8, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    Jamie. I live where you do. I went to the same church. I have a grown son with brain/anxiety/addiction issues. From the outside, he looks fine. Strangers (and some close) can’t know the anguish he suffers at times. Since he was 8 years old and his anxiety reared it’s ugly head. I have written his eulogy, picked out the music, the photos to go along. He is still here. Doing well. Today. He is a grown man and yet my baby boy that I know I may lose someday. I am sad for Jamison’s choice and for what took him there. And for you, his father and brothers. You are constantly in my thoughts. And, selfishly, I am watching. To see how this is navigated. In case I find myself where you are.

    • Jody Serey on March 9, 2019 at 8:49 am

      I am where you are, too. My broken sons are adults, but I wake up every morning and wonder if they’re still alive. And I know I will be judged if they are not.

    • Kristin on March 9, 2019 at 12:14 pm

      This breaks me. As the Mom of a 16yo daughter who battles severe anxiety and depression, it is my deepest fear. While they are so very strong, I am terrified that one day she will decide that she is too tired to be strong anymore. I am so very sorry , Jamie, that you are having to live this nightmare. ❤️

  10. Erica on March 8, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    You are loved. He was loved. He is loved. It doesn’t stop, but the change is devastating. My heart is with you ❤️

  11. Beakerj on March 8, 2019 at 5:56 pm

    I work with teenagers, many of whom struggle with mental illness & suicidal ideation. I will remember Jamison as I help them, because it still may be possible to push them a few degrees to either side of disaster.
    I also think of your other boys, dealing with the loss of their little brother & hope they are doing okay, considering.

    I still can find no words to say how much I wish this had been different for you all. I don’t think I could have survived it.

  12. Wendy on March 8, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    Just here listening. Saying I’ve kept you and your sons in prayer does sound so damn trite…..but I have been.
    Frustrating to not be able to do anything else. Have actually punched a wall when finding out and a few times since. Real grown up I know……I know this journey, not as a mom but as a friend. The questions can be relentless. Can’t imagine it as a mom. I hate it for you.
    I’m so glad Jamison’s friends have come by. I hope they continue to.
    Hang on to whatever you can.
    Know you are loved. No matter where you’re at in this suckass journey. I’m in for the long haul.

  13. Glenda on March 8, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    You are astounding to me. I am a drop in an all encompassing ocean of empathy. I know so many of us were swept into your excruciating ache, at least in some imagined way… when we read your story of losing your son… My body shook and my eyes bled salt and salt and salt.

    How beautiful the human spirit, I thought. That I may feel this suffering for a woman I don’t remotely know, but whose bangs and tattoos and zero fucks I so admire.

    My daughter is 16 and struggling with mental illness. I am terrified, often daily. My admiration for you is boundless. Not only for what you’re suffering and moving through now, but for the entire damn road and trajectory that brought you here. I’m sorry for your son’s pain. I’m sorry for yours. Somehow in this weird ass age of the internet, I’m able to also say, I’m here for you. All my cellular and celestial fibers amalgamated and online in this moment.

    I’m in awe as you carry. The fuck. On.

  14. Jan on March 8, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    Oh Jamie I’m so sorry….. I lost my son Jordan to suicide also after a 5 year battle with mental illness and it all just sucks. It is so unfair and so painful, so much anger and guilt and love……….please take care 💕

    • Jan on May 12, 2019 at 6:53 am

      I only just found you. Your words have spoken to the place I’m in but with my husband. We lost him 18 months ago.
      Holding you in my heart as you find your way through this horrible.

  15. Mpt on March 8, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    I love you so much…

  16. Rhonda Habel on March 8, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    Your words play over and over in my head: “I want him back.” I love that in the midst of despair and heartbreak, you have also found gratitude. May you find moments of peace, and relief, and hope in the days ahead, and 95 weeks from now.

  17. Mandy Harris on March 8, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    There are no emotions as deep and raw as those that swallow us after the loss of a child. Thank you for baring them so honestly. You are loved.

  18. polishtom on March 8, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    So sorry to hear about this, Jamie. So so sorry. I couldn’t even imagine what you are going through. I pray that the good Lord helps you through this, and that your words help others going through similar circumstances.

  19. Dana on March 8, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    I’m so, so sorry. Thank you for showing up, being vulnerable, and sharing about your beautiful son.

  20. Nicole (colieseyes) on March 8, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    I’ve followed your blog for so many years that I feel almost a little bit part of your family. My heart truly aches for you and your family and every time you post even just a picture of a tree on Instagram it gives me strength to keep moving forward in my own life. I’ve recently gone back to therapy this week to continue my fight with anxiety and depression and your story helped me make that decision. Keep moving forward and be thankful for the blessings. I hear you.

  21. Mandy on March 8, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    My teenage son has been dealing with ADHD, anxiety and depression since he was very young. He is doing well and we are managing it. But as he enters puberty, I know a bets are off. It seems like it’s every day that I look into his eyes searching for signs of turmoil and despair. Is today the day it comes? Sometimes I wonder what I did to mess him up, what I haven’t done to fix him, why God burdened him (and me) with this, and if he’ll make it through. Jamie, you are not alone in this mommy place. Even those who haven’t suffered your grief know the pain of a struggling kid. You fought for him, and we will continue to fight in your honor. Godspeed and peace, sister.

  22. Dorothy on March 8, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    You are truly in my prayers along with your family and friends of Jamison. My heart broke for you when I heard.

  23. Bj Hickman on March 8, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    Still holding you close in prayer., Jamie. ♥️

  24. Kate on March 8, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    You are loved and held in a million invisible ways by a million unseen hands. Mine among them. ❤️

  25. Gretchen on March 8, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    I am so, so sorry. I don’t know if I am a fan, or am as yet in met friend, but I do know that I have been thinking of you and your family so much, and I pray for you when I do. Thank you for the gift of sharing the good, the bad, and the catastrophic, so that not only do you know you’re not alone, but we know we are not alone, too.

  26. Marge Long on March 8, 2019 at 7:46 pm

    Been holding you and your family will continue 💗

  27. Cara on March 8, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    124 days
    17 weeks
    4 months

    I’m not sure when/if the counting stops, but I do know that I’m counting, too. I miss my daughter and the curse of motherhood is that I, like you, will continue to try and determine the exact moment everything went wrong and what I could’ve possibly done to stop it. (I couldn’t have. You couldn’t have. And it sucks.)

    I’m so sorry that you are in this awful, bereaved mother’s club. It shouldn’t exist. Thank you for your transparency. It is a gift to the rest of us who are trying to navigate this treacherous path.

    • Melissa Woodruff on March 9, 2019 at 6:22 am

      Cara & Jamie & every other mom in this place of grieving,
      I grieve with you. My heart is so heavy for each of you. And all I have to offer is my prayers. I offer it with tear-filled eyes & a lump stuck in my throat. When I close my eyes to pray, I see a blinding golden light and Jesus’ Open hands…I don’t know why. I just hope that comforts you in some way. Thank you for sharing. I am so so sorry.

  28. Sheila G on March 8, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    As a blog follower since the Costa Rica days, I can tell you that your words have impacted me for years. Today, even more. May love and sweet memories, grace and peace surround you. Love from West Texas.

  29. Brett G on March 8, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    Jamie, I can’t imagine. It’s not fair.

  30. CS on March 8, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    I am 145 weeks into my journey….
    I am a different girl, a different mom, a different friend. Normal is an illusion, and will never be safe again.
    Maya Angelou said… Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.
    My only prayer for the last several years, has been..
    Oh God, have mercy on us.
    I have To believe this must be what mercy looks like. Some days that brings me peace.

  31. Julie Brown on March 8, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    Oh Jamie, I’m so, so sorry! I have no words that will help ease your pain, 18 years after losing my daughter, I still struggle to face the loss I feel. The only way I’ve learned to deal with this new life we face is one breath, one step at a time. Every day is new and different, some tolerable, others I don’t bother getting out of bed. You are in my heart, thinking of you and your family with love.

  32. Jodi on March 8, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    I know that we don’t know each other, but I’m praying for you. I have no words, and I know that even if I did it wouldn’t take away your pain. Just know that I appreciate your truth.

  33. Crystal on March 8, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    I can understand so much of this. Just reading it I am brought back memories of crying so hard and so long that I literally had no more tears and my sinuses burned and my head throbbed for days from continual weeping. I remember the staggering loss and the surrender of acknowledging that I no longer knew where to go and there was no path laid to follow and from here on out I was walking a dark overgrown forest all alone. Yet in that darkness, I remember feeling the wind of prayers and love somehow miraculously lifting me when I could go on no longer. It was sad and empty and comforting all at once. I also remember the phrase, “It sucks,” because I couldn’t sum it all up in any other way. I’m so sorry that you’ve felt all this and more. It’s a thing I wouldn’t wish on my very worst enemy. I pray you are given strength and comfort somehow in just the way that you need. My heart is sad is for you and your family. Much love to all of you.

  34. Amy Shidler on March 8, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    ♥️ Love you, praying for you, often and deeply. ♥️ Thank you for your openness, vulnerability, honesty and wisdom. Your gift with words comforts and challenges me immensely. I’m so grateful for YOU!

  35. Lily on March 9, 2019 at 12:15 am

    No one, and I do mean NO ONE, could have been a better mother to Jamison. Period. Please know that you and your family remain in my prayers. Even as it feels like it must be trite to hear those words (and thank you for saying it’s not),, it feels trite to say them. There are no words, so I’m praying for peace that surpasses understanding, because, this raw, bitter anguish has no understanding. I weep with you, Jamie. 💔💔💔

  36. Johnna on March 9, 2019 at 12:16 am

    Beautifully and honestly articulated. I’m one of those internet strangers…my family has been touched by losing someone to mental illness too— too many somesones…friends, teammates, students. I’m not sure of my point here, other than to let you know that you are not alone…even if it’s just we internet strangers that are only an electron away.

  37. Carl on March 9, 2019 at 12:37 am

    I have followed you from afar, laughed,cried and, f-bombed along. My heart aches for your loss having walked all but the very end of the journey your beautiful son walked. No-one knew at the time other than a teacher at school. My mum certainly never.

    As a grown man with three kids, two of whom suffer with mental health challenges I fear the worst and hope for the best. I do not wish to suffer the pain you do daily and I hope that as I have learnt to be open with my children about my struggles 30 years ago that it may just make a difference. You continue to inspire even in your darkest hours.

    I will be sure to pray for you and your family that God’s peace and comfort be with you.

  38. Mel on March 9, 2019 at 2:17 am

    Praying you find peace and rest.

  39. Charlotte Stice on March 9, 2019 at 2:44 am

    Beautifully said, Jamie. I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your heart and your life with us.

  40. Kristy Dahms on March 9, 2019 at 5:08 am

    I’m so sorry this tragedy has touched your life. Thank you for touching all of ours over and over again. My heartfelt prayers for your momma’s heart and family, Kristy

  41. Ashley on March 9, 2019 at 7:46 am

    As I read this post I could feel the extreme heaviness and heartache that you are going through, but also the exact same gratefulness.

    It’s so hard to even try to imagine how you must feel so I won’t say that I know or even pretend to, but what I can say is that my heart is broken for yours and I pray that in the midst of this storm you’re able to find peace and learn how to live again in this new season of life.

    Thank you for being open, honest and real about your life. You’ve helped me feel better about myself for years and forth that I am grateful.

  42. Lucy on March 9, 2019 at 9:58 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Your beautiful words have been my experience. I’m at 122 weeks. Harsh truth, it will get harder before it gets easier. After the busy, and the plans to make, comes the painful quiet, where it hurts even to breathe, but you have no choice. Welcome to the club that no parent ever wants to join. You are not alone. 2 years out, some of the feeling has come back from the numb. But the loss is a constant companion.

  43. Jen Hindley on March 9, 2019 at 10:15 am

    oh, Jamie, i am weeping with you. This pain is one i cannot even fathom. I wrote this poem 2 years ago for a dear friend who lost her ex-husband to mental illness. Her situation was different, in that there were many, many terrible memories (addiction, abuse, etc) amidst the good, but she loved him and grieved/grieves his passing just the same. There were many that didn’t believe he would be in heaven because of all his earthly choices, to which i say FUCK THAT SHIT. This was my gift to her. And i would LOVE to write one for you…to honor your incredible son and his courageous life. With the weight of the world on your shoulders, i don’t expect you to ever see this, but if you do, and you would like to share some memories of Jamison with me, i would be honored to write you a memorial poem. Seriously, if you see this in 3 years and you want to send me an email with memories…PLEASE DO! I will write the hell out of that poem. For now, here is the poem. Sending you all my love.

    –Gone for a while–

    Your goofy jokes,
    that bright wide smile.
    Wish you could have stayed
    but you’re gone for a while.

    Long walks with that hound,
    (longer if he ran away),
    late talks by the fire
    and oh, the music we made!

    I will always cherish
    those sweet melodies,
    worshiping our Savior,
    just you and me.

    Our music was magic
    it brought us together
    and I know that one day
    we’ll make music forever.

    Yes, I choose to believe
    that your faith was real.
    and while here we grieve your passing,
    at His feet in heaven you kneel.

    Because I know that my Jesus,
    my Savior, is alive,
    I can say you’re not gone forever,
    you’re just gone for a while.

    my email is <3

  44. Meri on March 9, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    I truly think of you and your family every day. I am so sorry for your loss. Praying for you ❤️

  45. Elaine Stover on March 9, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Malka’s mom here. I’ve been praying for you and your family since I heard and have been getting updates along the path. How devastating it is. Thank you for sharing with us. Your vulnerability is brave and wonderful. Thank you for sharing you with us.

  46. Margaret Thorpe on March 9, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    I can’t even begin to imagine the hole in your heart as you grieve for your beautiful son. I pray that your precious memories of him and your family will give you some comfort on those nights you wake up and wonder why, how, what could I have done.
    Don’t torture yourself but do allow yourself to remember, cry and grieve. Treat yourself gently and allow yourself a lot of space and latitude.
    All those physical, emotional and spiritual reactions you are and will still go through are your responding and working out how to do life now.
    May you finally know a sense of peace.

  47. Vickie on March 9, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    My heart and prayers go out to you and your family. Am so sorry for your loss.

  48. Tom V on March 9, 2019 at 8:25 pm


    You need to change the name of your blog. You are not the very worst missionary. As I approach the one year anniversary of the death of my dad along with other much more complicated grief, what you wrote, it spoke to the parts of my soul that want to cry over them all.

    Thank you and I will continue to pray for you and yours. The loss of a child is insurmountably more devavsting than loss of an 80 year old father. But we grieve with you.


  49. Beth Edwards on March 10, 2019 at 6:49 am

    ”I want him back,” Although It was 19 years ago that I lost my young son in an accident, your words unleashed a flood of tears and memories. I remember looking at my son’s empty bed and crying out that I would give a million dollars and more to have one more minute with him. Such are the waves of love and heartbreak that wash over a parent when the unimaginable happens. Yet, for me also, genuine gratitude arose in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. Still defying my understanding at times, never before or since that loss have I experienced a more tangible outpouring of comfort and grace, from friends and strangers alike. As is true for expressing the depth of one’s loss, there often seem to be no words to adequately express the felt fullness of heart that is intimately tied to the presence of a love that will never let us go. I remember and I remain forever grateful.

  50. Ruth on March 10, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    What a earthshaking loss in your life and in the life of your family!! My heart breaks for you and all that you are going thru right now. I prayed for you as soon as I read your blog and asked God to hug you close in this crushing loss and to comfort you as only He can.

  51. Marcia Bentley on March 10, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    A Letter to my Husband
    Sunday March 10th 2019
    It’s been one year, a long year full of heartache, sorrow and sadness since you’ve been gone. March 12th 2018 will go down as the worst day of my life, your children’s lives and your family’s lives. This is the day a female sheriff came to our front door at 9am to tell me you had taken your own life. The next 2 hours were a blur and I can’t recall all of the details because I was in a state of shock and disbelief. I remember falling to the ground because my legs gave way and began whaling and crying no, no, no this can’t be.
    Quickly the house began to fill with people. I don’t remember what the course of events was or who was there and what happened. Still in shock I just kept remembering the last time I heard your voice and felt your lips kiss my cheek goodnight that Sunday night. You looked tired and came up behind me and kissed my right cheek as I stood in front of the stove and said goodnight. I didn’t give it a second thought other than you looked really tired. I now know that you knew this would be the last time I saw you alive. That weekend you made sure that we had all the babies over, you helped with everything around the house, you went through the box of photos your mom put together for each one of her children, it was a fucking awesome weekend! Little did I know you had your exit very well planned out and you didn’t want to be stopped or saved? For how long I’m not certain. You left a note in my desk drawer that I only discovered after the Sheriff came because you left a note on the windshield of your car letting whoever found you to let me know about the letter. Before leaving the house you went into our daughter’s room as you did many other mornings and covered her up with a blanket and kissed her on the cheek. This morning you chose the blanket with LOVE all over it. I know you chose it because you had to pull it from a stock of other blankets that were toppled over. You texted our son and your parents, you left your necklace behind and we all know how special it was to you. You went outside the home to a remote location and made sure that none of us would discover you. I’m still struggling with why I didn’t know why didn’t I recognize that you were in so much pain and that you couldn’t see a way out of the downward spiral in your mind? Why didn’t I grab your face and ask what was wrong, why so sad?
    Two days later you came to me in my dream and let me do just that. I ran and jumped into your arms and held your face in my hands as you wrapped your arms around me. I kissed you and told you how much I loved you and then you were gone. Perhaps it was at that point you were able to pass through to the other side.
    I’m so sorry for the pain you must have been in and I’m sorry I couldn’t take that pain away. I will never be angry with you and I have only love and compassion in my heart for you. I am only angry at the situation and that our lives will never be the same or as happy without you.
    Therapy this year has been very enlightening and I don’t think I could’ve made it through life without it and the support of my family and friends. I can honestly say that after hearing about people in very similar situations as Scott I have come to the conclusion that this disease gets a hold or your mind and NEVER let’s go. If you are one of the lucky ones that can find the right balance of meds to help you cope you’re truly blessed. Unfortunately, most cannot and live with these demons and a life filled with anxiety, angst and depression. Most people will never begin to understand what my beautiful Scott was going through almost his entire life and looking back he really did hang on for a very long time. He just couldn’t take it anymore.
    I love you, I miss you so much it physically hurts!

    Your wife

    • Scott Albert Johnson on March 19, 2019 at 9:05 am

      Marcia Bentley: I was moved by what you wrote about your husband. May the coming years bring you a measure of peace. I’m so sorry.
      Scott Albert Johnson

  52. Pam on March 10, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    I’ve been grateful, in the years I’ve read your blog, for your insights, your honesty, for you sharing yourself and your life with us. Now this. I’m so sorry. There’s no way around it, only through it. Which is terrible. I pray your love for Jamison, which breaks your heart, will be part of what mends it. God be with you.

  53. shari pilaria on March 11, 2019 at 12:06 am

    Jamisons life mattered. He was and is loved furiously by his beautiful mom who will keep his memory alive, and inspire others who suffer unthinkable loss, to not perfectly but bravely put one foot in front of the other, each minute, each hour, each week, month and year. Drawing closer to God with each step, who shares her pain . . . . steps that take us all on our sometimes painful journeys, closer to the day that all whom have taken an earlier train are reunited forever with us. Thank you for being a real person Jamie and your God given gift of articulating what causes most people to scramble for words. May you find a manageable peace someday even though your world just tilted in this life forever, the sun still rises, and the moon is still beautiful in the night sky,
    Love just isn’t enough sometimes. I am so sorry.

  54. Chantelle Robinson on March 11, 2019 at 9:45 am

    I cannot even imagine the pain of your loss… I’m sorry to hear of this tragic loss to you and your family. May you find seeds of new hope through the compassion and love of those around you.

    • Kristin on March 19, 2019 at 5:19 pm

      I just learned of this today and am devastated for you. I also found out about your divorce. I’m a Christian, ostracized from her church, because people judge and take sides when we just need love. My 14 year old daughter is suicidal because she feels torn between the people she loves-I’m not putting her in the middle, but she feels that & it’s brutal for her. Please know that all of your readers and friends carry a part of your pain as well because we are broken hearted with you. Sending so much love ❤️

  55. Mike Lueth on March 11, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    Jamie – I grieve with you on the loss of your son Jamison. He sounded like a really awesome young man; one I likely would have enjoyed knowing. I lost my best friend Mike in a similar way 34 years ago, and as I will be turning 68 very soon, I have now lived half my life without him. Without his support, camaraderie, jokes, laughter, wisdom, SNL on Saturday nights, working side by side, etc. But just two nights ago, I had the most wonderful dream about him. He was healthy, working productively, and he hadn’t aged a day. So he’s doing well (so many anecdotal stories to support that our loved ones live on). And I too have “moved on” – I work, laugh, play and genuinely feel happy, but I still wish Mike was here to share in all that. But I knew he stayed as long as he could bear it; he was suffering. There is a statute named Melancolie by the Romanian artist Albert György that (to me) illustrates when looking back there will always be a hole in my life/heart …. but I don’t always have to look back; for those of us still living there is meant to be a future. Best wishes and prayers during this difficult time.

    Google “Melancolie” to see the sculpture (I don’t like using links for fear of hidden viruses)

  56. Marrha andrews on March 11, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    Im so very sorry for your loss.
    I am the mom of a meth addict, the homeless kind that sleeps on the streets, a once bright ambitions shinning star. I have only know where she was twice in the past two years, it is my worst nightmare come true. I to can struggle with if I could go back and… but I know with all my failings and mistakes, there is nothing I could have done differently to change where she is now.
    I have no wise words to give you, or great words of comfort but my heart does ache for you.

  57. Abbie on March 15, 2019 at 4:07 am

    Yes. My Benjamin left 4 months and a week ago. I get it. Everyone says how “strong” I am, cos, who knows what to say?
    I’m not strong. I’m clinging to the Spirit. He promised to be near to the brokenhearted. That’s us. You & me, babe.
    With the never-ending F-bombs that Ms. Kübler-Ross never mentioned.
    Here if you want to chat.

  58. Ruth Iveadal on March 17, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    Every time I start to write to you. I stop. There are no words. Praying for you for peace.
    You are loved.

  59. Scott Albert Johnson on March 19, 2019 at 9:06 am

    I stumbled upon this blog post and just feel gutted. I’m so very sorry for your loss. May the months and years to come be filled with peace and happy memories. SAJ

  60. Beth on March 21, 2019 at 11:51 am

    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your precious son! That is so devastating. I am praying that God gives you grace and strength.

  61. Heather on March 26, 2019 at 4:27 am

    Dear One, its 3:30AM and I hope you are sleeping peacefully at this moment. I often have insomnia and will pray for you when I’m up like this, that God will cover you and your family like a warm blanket so you can rest easily. Did you see BRUCE ALMIGHTY? There was a scene where, as God, he gets absolutely bombarded with prayer requests on his computer screen. I picture that happening now… An avalanche of love and prayers for you guys (and I know it’s true). I also know that whatever hurt Jamison in this life can’t touch him now; he is safe and at peace and nothing will ever torture him again. Much love to you, my very favorite BEST missionary …

  62. Kirsten on March 27, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Thank you for speaking openly about your loss and grief. It really hit home for me because I have two children, age 18 and 20, who struggle with mental illness. Every day I wonder how best to support them and feel frustrated with my inability to kiss it all better. I listen, spend time, pray, take them to drs and counsellors, and tell them this is just one chapter of their life. It’s a hard chapter. It’s helpful to talk to openly about mental health – seems to lighten the darkness.

  63. Amy Flores on March 29, 2019 at 9:01 am

    I am so terribly sorry for your loss. I recently read your book and all your posts on this blog, and my heart goes out to you. May Jesus comfort you as only He can and may He continue to put loving people in your path. May you know His love and peace as never before. You are loved.

  64. Anna on April 17, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Truly praying for you and your family in this devastating time , and as life continues to propel forward. I highly recommend the book “Lament for a Son” by Nicholas Wolterstorff if you find yourself looking for something to read. My collegiate class read the book in our class on Christian literature and Suffering. While I don’t have any children yet, the book and the authors expression and journey of coping with the loss of his son really spoke to me. I hope that the Lord provides you with peace and clarity.

  65. Jaqi on April 30, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    I stopped to pickup carryout today and randomly thought “I haven’t seen anything from Jamie recently. I’ll check her blog.” Now I sit here with tears streaming down my face in Zoes as my heart breaks for you. I’m so sorry, there aren’t even words. I’m praying for you all.

  66. Philip Stobbe on May 5, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    It was three years ago May first that we heard the tragic news that our oldest son Drew took his life. As you have aptly communicated, we swim in surreal, turbulent waters for months. There are no guidelines, path, nor correct manner to proceed. Take all the time to grieve, feel the sorrow, remember the incidents, miss the presence, treasure the friends who shared his days. Your new normal will emerge in due season, but it will never be what was before. You have my sincere condolences.

  67. Matt on May 12, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    I just listened to the audiobook version of The Very Worst Missionary. I am so sorry. I enjoyed hearing about and relating to the way your sons acted when they were younger, like me and my brothers. This is very sad and I am sorry. God Bless

  68. Lindsay Wise on May 28, 2019 at 2:00 pm


    I’m so sorry for you and your family. There are truly no words, so I won’t even try. Just know that my husband and I are grateful that our lives crossed paths in Costa Rica; we’re grateful for your being a part of our lives, and we will pray that God will give you and your family strength. We love you.

    Lindsay & Chino

  69. Bible Motivation Daily on July 3, 2019 at 1:58 pm
  70. Anonymous on July 14, 2019 at 12:30 am

    I’m so, so sorry for your terrible loss. I have no words.

    My family and I just found out that my son attempted suicide… And it wasn’t the first time.

    We never knew. He hid the anxiety and depression from us, either pretending all was okay, or pushing us away.
    He’s in in-patient care now, but it’s temporary. He’s acting like he’s better. But he’s lied for so long, we don’t know when the hammer might fall again.

    We’re terrified of him trying again.

  71. Jeanette Pham on August 1, 2019 at 5:17 am

    Dear Jamie, I have followed you on and off for years and thought this morning that I have not heard much from you so came to your website to hear the very devastating news of your sons passing. I am so very sorry for your loss and will pray for you and your family as you navigate life without your precious boy. I pray that the love of family and friends surround you. That you find God faithful in this dark and difficult time. That you find comfort in the sweet memories of your son. Words are so inadequate at times like these….please know that you are loved and covered in prayer.

  72. Rebecca on August 5, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    My friend sent me something you wrote to help me on my journey with this same type of loss. My little brother left us April 5th. I’m watching my Mother live a life of agony and my heart is breaking. My heart is breaking for you and your family as well, and anyone dealing with this nightmare. Enjoy your ice cream, smoke your pot, take your pills. Survive. ❤️

  73. Libby on August 6, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    I’m sooo VERY SORRY this happened to Jamison. It happened to my daughter, Victoria in 2008. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    There are so many things I could say but I’ll just mention one. When we lost Toria I didn’t want to use the phrase “Moving on” because that sounded like we were forgetting her and we’ll NEVER forget her! Like you I chose the phrase “Moving forward. “

  74. LK on August 16, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    Hi, Jamie, how are you? I miss you. My thoughts are with you.

  75. Kate on August 21, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Jamie…just started chapter 2 of your book today-sitting alone in a booth lunching at a local Mexican restaurant. I kinda felt like I was writing some of those paragraphs…or at least we have the same personality type (my condolences).

    I decided to google your blog…and this is the first entry. My heart hurts for you…

    ….just deleted several self-absorbed paragraphs….

    For me, it was my beloved nephew. Almost seven years now.

    You are obviously not alone.

    I think about Heaven a lot now. Not in the “choir robe” way…but in the way CS Lewis writes about it in “The Last Battle” or in “The Great Divorce”.

    In my immediate grief an image of my nephew popped in my head as a healthy, radiant boy with a golden glow. A contrast to his gaunt and sad earthly body. I stopped worrying about sound theology and just believe that I had a glimpse of his heavenly body—him but MORE REAL.

    And again, maybe in my imagination, I remembered a story I read in high school essentially about a soldier whose whole life flashes before his eyes before he is executed. In my tears, as I questioned if my boy knew Jesus…I realized that God is beyond space and time, that Jesus met my boy in that tragic space between life and death…that in that moment time was stretched to reveal MORE. In my heart, I know in this pocket of space and time that my boy would have believed, that he found joy in his last breath and that even now he is walking with Jesus. I believe the healer came to him.

    This probably doesn’t help. I am grateful that these two thoughts and images came to me in the first flush of grief. If anything, I pray that you have similar reassurances of the goodness that awaits…that Jamison is safe. That love is eternal. That he is also a golden boy.

    All my love

  76. Kate on September 3, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    Hi…. please can you not publish the comment I made last week? I was a bit overcome and emotional and I think I overstepped, Keeping Ms. Wright in prayer. Much love!

  77. Jennifer J Smith on September 18, 2019 at 10:05 am

    I just came across your blog for the first time (through Jeff Goins) and wasn’t planning to comment, but as a fellow mother of three I just want to send all of my love, prayers, and heartfelt empathy your way. No matter who we are or where we are coming from, motherhood is the great equalizer. I am in tears as I read this. I cannot imagine what you are going through, but all my respect to you for being able to write about it honestly and especially for being, of all things, thankful. Your humility shines through here. All my deepest sorrow and love to you, my fellow mother.

  78. Kristi Whitworth Mitchell on September 26, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    This brought me to tears for two reasons. One, because I am so sorry that you are now on this grief journey that so many mothers share and two, because it rocketed me back to those first days, weeks, and months without my beloved boy. I immediately felt all that pain and shock again. I will never forget. And I am reminded of how I also pass time by sorting memories and events into two categories; when he was still here and after he was gone. Six years out and I am still trying to redefine who I am as a woman and mother. It has indeed been a challenge but most definitely also a blessing as I continue to lean on the love of friends, both old and new and a new, redefined concept of what faith and wellness is for me. May you feel the healing power of that love and faith as you move forward in this journey through the valley also.

  79. Marnie on November 16, 2019 at 2:55 am

    I only heard of you last week…I’m reading your book and just jumped online to search for your blog. I am so sorry to hear of the devastating loss of your son. I can’t even imagine…I’m just so sorry. Much love to you, Marnie in Australia

  80. Laura on January 9, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    This was just shared on a grief support FB page that I’m a member of. It’s been 11 weeks for me since my 18 year son ended his battle with depression. I’ve wondered when I will stop counting weeks and switch to months. Everything you said, I feel like I could have said. Thank you for expressing it. This journey can feel lonely even when I am surrounded by more love than I could have imagined. Reading this post helped me to not feel so alone.

  81. Edward Smith on March 21, 2020 at 8:43 am

    So sorry about your loss… I’ve never had children (just my cat friend of 17 years who is deaf but healthy) but I can slightly imagine how terrible I’d feel.
    I WAS that mentally ill kid for years… I can relate to him. I don’t know what happened but if it was suicide it was bravery–because I never had the courage to do it.
    I found a person (a friend of 22 years) whereby the stars lined up just perfect and she chose me over her unhappy marriage.
    It wasn’t easy.. but I do feel we saved each other–we both had similar paths.
    I hope you’re finding peace in this world somehow… I’m struggling.
    Maybe us Xers are the prophets of the 2020’s?

  82. Laycistercians on March 26, 2020 at 1:24 am

    Being grateful is part of the satisfaction. Satisfaction is the best gift you can give to yourself. We should appreciate or be grateful for what we have right now. Thank you!

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  84. Janna Nickel on June 14, 2020 at 7:03 am

    I just finished you book and I had to find your blog. It was just what I needed to read at the time I needed it. Thank you.
    Then I read your latest post and I’m heartbroken for you at the loss of your son. I can’t imagine… I’m truly so sorry for your loss.

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