The days ahead

Yes, the 7 days ahead are 7 of the days that I least look forward to in every calendar year.  The days leading up to the birthdate of my first born, a date that we are no longer able to celebrate with him. Even though history has told us that it's best to isolate during these days, this year we have taken a different approach. I have isolated from the things that don't matter by removing much of my social media this month but I am continuing to try and be that bright spot in the day everywhere I go. I had a particularly rough night of sleep last night so i got in a bit late today and before the day has even started I've been presented with opportunities to be the light that Hudson was.  Had a friend reach out this AM with newfound challenges with anxiety, a chance for me to share some of what I've  learned through this journey, an opportunity to help someone navigate a mental health challenge that is new to them.  These are the little ways that I cope, helping others. As I walked into the building As usual I ran into the gentlement that does cleaning of our bathrooms during the business day. Many just walk by but I make a special effort to say good morning and talk with him about his weekend or day every time that I see him. At nearly the end of every conversation comes the reward I didn't ask for "thanks for listening man, I needed to vent"   Its these little things that have a big impact, much bigger than we could ever realize to those that have no other avenue of release or conversation. Hundreds of people walk by him every day but few acknowledge him. You too can be the light that Hudson was and I've always strived to be.  Yes my life experiences are much more challening then most but I've found a way to make the best of them. I have felt the pain, I have seen the darkest days and I do understand how hard life can be but I will still find the strength to give my love to this world. 

For the next 7 days, for us and most importantly for Hudson, do the little things. Say hi to someone you wouldn't normally speak to, ask a stranger how their day is. Believe it or not, it could save someone's life just knowing that someone cares.  

 

We are incredibly excited for Adventure Camp this weekend, an opportunity to share Hudson's story and our experiences with our future leaders.  It won't be easy but I know Hudson will give us the energy we need to push through and help others understand how to navigate this crazy world. This generation gives me hope and is an inspiration to what can be accomplished with a voice!

 

If you are feeling hopeless or need someone to talk to, please text home to 741-741 to reach the crisis text line.  

 

Happy Birthday week, Hudson!  

We need more Love and Respect!

I'm currently spending some time in The Phillipines on business and just wanted to share some quick thoughts. The time so far away from home in a completely foreign land has given me some time to deeply reflect. What I've witnessed is a culture full of loving and positive people doing whatever it takes to survive. People that are not provided nearly the opportunities that we are as Americans. As an example, some on our teams travel each way on various modes of non-cooled and open air public transportation in sweltering heat sometimes 3 hours each way to do their daily work, yet they are still radiating with love and respect for every single person that they interact with. They very much respect and appreciate any opportunity that has been provided to them.

It has made me quite frustrated with who we have become as Americans so I just wanted to remind us all that we need more love and positivity in our lives.  We must shift what we are becoming and Cont;nue to fight through our toughest days to lift each other up. While we may feel that getting through some of those days is unfathomable, the opportunities, luxuries and freedom that we share should remind us that all of our lives are worth living.

There are many in this world struggling to survive every day of their lives simply due to where on the map they landed. The sadness and struggle I can see in some of their eyes along with the poverty I have witnessed while here is a motivator for me to do my part to keep pushing us through.

By supporting each other, we can shift to what we want to be, not what our struggles can push us to become. Let's do our part to build that utopian world Hudson dreamed of.

Know that you are loved, we all have a purpose and we all must Cont;nue for the greater good of those and the world around us. I love you all!

#love #respect #Positivity #Hope #empathy #flyhighhudson #ProjectHudson

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These are the days

The reality is these days will always be the days before my son died. No matter how you slice it each and everyone of them represent a last memory, last conversation , the last hug, so many lasts on these last days.  It's so easy to tell when people don't understand my situation, when I reference getting through the weekend or dreading the date ahead, often times I'll get a look like wasn't that a while ago. To you it may seem like a while ago but to us it feels like it was just yesterday, a nightmare that we live every day.

I've spent quite a bit of time lately looking at old pictures and memories of the last few months of our lives together. It's amazing when looking back how I'm able to see the differences in his mood and his presence. On our last Christmas he wouldn't allow me to take pictures of him all morning long, at least not until everyone arrived. When it was time for family pictures, he jumped right up, participated and gave us some of the greatest pictures we've ever taken together of our families.  Often I look back and I wonder if this was something he had planned for quite some time. Like on Christmas of 2015 did he know that just 31 days later he would end his life?  I look at the pictures from when Nora was born, seeing upon his arrival to the hospital how excited he was to see her. The huge smile on his face as he held her for the first time was one of genuine love. It's all really really hard to process. Maybe it wasn't that he planned this but that he fought it off every day of his life until he could no more. I know this is so hard for so many to understand, so much life ahead of him, so much love around him, him sharing that same love with so many others. There is just no way we will ever understand all that he endured and all that he had up against him because he would never allow us to.  When I talk with friends that he supported, there are many common themes but one that stands out is that it was never about him. He didn't share his struggles, he simply wanted to help others through theirs. Thats a very special trait and one that I'll always admire, I just wish that he could have found the comfort to let us understand how much he hurt on those final days because we wanted to help him just as he did for others.

If you are feeling hopeless or having thoughts of ending your life, please reach out for assistance. Resources are available at https://www.projecthudson.org/get-help/

Remember that you don't have to call, you can simply text for help from the US by texting home to 741-741 or by going to their website at https://www.crisistextline.org 

 

Hudson's phone is still on and closeby, it has been very active this week. Please continue to reach out, we love to hear from you and will always be here if we can help. 

With all my Love,

Wes

When the cemetery is fun

Yep, that's another of the crazy things about this life, I enjoy going to the cemetery. I have the day off today and have spent much of the weekend in the house with the kiddos. On a normal weekend, I would have been in Minneapolis for my side job but that happens to be where I was on the morning of that final call so there I hope to never return. Anyway, my mother in law came down this afternoon to spend some time with the kids so I get the chance to step away for a bit. I called Jenna to ask her if there was anything that she needed me to do, she said no "go have some fun." And what do I do next, get in my car and drive to the cememtery, I suppose to be with the guy that used to bring me so much fun and who I devoted every spare moment to. All of my life I have been scared of cemeteries and now, well some days there is no place I'd rather be. But trust me, this isn't something you want, its a cold place with no sound of life today, only the echoes of my tears. 

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Stepping Back from the Noise

Happy New Year friends, what a quick start it is off to so far.  While I've been pretty quiet lately , I'm happy to share with you today that for a few weeks, consecutively,  I'm doing really well.  As anyone knows by now, thats not to say that everyday is awesome but I'm finally able to put together a consistent sequence of happiness and hopeful days. It's not everyday but it's been many of the last few weeks. You might wonder what changed and I too have spent quite a bit of time thinking about that. Thought it would be good to share with you. 

I think that the secret for me has been stepping back from the noise.  That noise being those things around me that I need not be consumed with, or that distract from my time with those around me.  Yes, it's Facebook, Instagram, news, television and the things that we as a culture have surrounded ourselves with to sustain this concept of being in the know or up on the latest in someones life.  That's not to say I've cut it all off but for a period of time I did and I feel like it it retrained my habits.  I'm lucky enough to have been able to spend the majority of the holidays at home. I had a week off of work and worked remotely for a portion of the following week so that I could be home with these two little monsters that keep us going.  During that time, I deleted all social media from my phone, just as I do with my work email when I'm on vacation, no temptation.  My ask to myself during this time was simply to be present.  Present for my wife, present for my children and present with myself.  I knew that if I spent all of my time scrolling through feeds and seeing all of the family pictures and holiday celebrations, my mind would be consumed with the sadness of the holidays without Hudson.  Instead I spent it on the couch playing games, building puzzles, and interacting with my family.  I'll be the first to admit that while I spend a lot of time with my family, I'm often distracted and it was interesting to see how engaged the kids were with all of my attention.  Looking back I felt like it reestablished some focus for me, realizing how influential everything I say and do is to my children.   While the approach I took may have been slightly selfish to my extended family my hope is that they'll be happy with the result.

Now that we're a few weeks removed from this time of re-familiarization with a world outside of being consumed by the non-tangible things, I'm starting a year with the chance to refocus my energy. The resolution I set for myself this year was just that, to refocus and refine my purpose.  What does that mean?  It means that I need to refocus on what's in front of me, never forgetting what has happened or the history that has lead me to this state, but trying to always look ahead and help those that I still have influence on.   Refining my purpose by continuing to be an advocate for those that struggle from depression, self-harm, and suicidal ideation.  Not just being a parent survivor but starting to be a bigger voice in this space. Still determining the right path for that goal.  While I love the work I do every day and am grateful for the opportunities presented, I know that I won't be happy without continuing to give back through guiding others through similar journeys and helping those that can, avoid this path.  I'm the busiest person I know and I love that but it's those moments where you can help someone start to understand the whys or through their roughest time that is the most rewarding work. 

For a change, I'm approaching the new year with some excitement, with a renewed focus and with a new career challenge like nothing I've taken on before.  I hope I can sustain the momentum. I do recognize that in 2 short weeks I'll be faced with that fateful date and until then I'll have moments every day where I'm reliving those last days, holding on to those last memories, and questioning every action or opportunity that could have prevented 1/26/16.   For now, I'll hold my head high and focus, this weekend I'll probably spend watching old videos and looking at pics, promise to share if I find some gems.  God I miss you Hudson, I hope you're proud of the fight as it's for you and our family that I will never give up!   Here's to a better year than the last 2 and the ability to cont;nue developing me. 

Much Love, 

Wesley 

 

If you are feeling hopeless or having thoughts of ending your life, please reach out for assistance. Resources are available at https://www.projecthudson.org/get-help/

Remember that you don't have to call, you can simply text for help from the US by texting home to 741-741 or by going to their website at https://www.crisistextline.org   

 

 

I don't know how I got out of bed today

Yes, it is days like today that getting out of bed will be the biggest accomplishment of my day.  While anyone who has experienced loss or endured the grief of losing a loved one understands and recognizes that the holidays are hard, I think that the situations we continue to face with the cards stacked against us are like no other.  Since our tragedy, we have done our best to really put ourselves out there and open up on our experiences to try and help those that may someday face similar circumstances know what this path entails.  It's now at a point where I'm wondering if our effort to love everyone else and help others is resulting in our son Kellen having to suffer for a lifetime from our loss.  He has the biggest heart and has climbed the biggest hills to find a place where he is comfortable and stable but this world that we live in continues to unfairly tear him down.  

 

Earlier this week he received something that he asked a friend to make for him, it's what today is called a "paper fortune teller" but in our days I'm sure we had another name for it.  One of the answers within this paper fortune teller was " you are weird so you just killed yourself."  Let that sink in for a minute, this is coming from an elementary student attending a christian academy in an affluent Indianapolis suburb. While you think about if you ever heard such words out of a child under 10, let me share a bit about our family and our beliefs.  We are not a religious family, we do believe that there is some power that has put us all hear but we don't believe any of us will ever be able to know or understand who that was or how it happened.  With Kellen, based on our experiences in public school and needing something more for him to hold on to, we have taken a different approach.  We have lead him down the path of Christianity, down the path of having a being that he can believe in and always feel will protect him.  Now, within the same walls where the words of loving god are shared every day, he's experiencing the same hate that took Hudson's life.  The difference, he's experiencing it at age 7!  Think about that, 7 years old and already exposed to this level of hate from an older student.  To that I ask that question, where are our children safe these days?  We are trying something uncomfortable to us and this is the result.  Is it the midwest, is it the wealthy kids that think there are no rules for them, is it what we see on tv, what is it, someone please help me understand?? I look back to my childhood, I reflect on long walks to and from Miami elementary on the south side of Lafayette and I can never, not one time, think of such hateful language used during those years.  We would call people names and we'd do mean things but never did we devalue the presence of their being or the importance of their life. I just don't know what point we have gotten to in this society that these words can be used so frequently.  This incident comes just days after we posted a picture of our deceased son with the words "You are Beautiful" on our Facebook, something he reminded people of daily and a post shared many times and viewed by probably hundreds, only to wake up to a comment with the words "Kill yourself" from one of the students that no doubt had a role in driving Hudson over the edge. He's dead, why does this need to continue?  Today's ride to school was conversation with Kellen about the student that won't keep his hands off of him.  This time it was tickling and poking and threatening to push him off the risers during their Holiday performance to "make him look like a fool to them" It's something new every day, how can the teachers and administration keep up with this?  If my child isn't safe here, what is my next option?      

And you know what I get to do every day, I get to go to work, run a global operation and carry on like nothing is wrong. Do you have any idea how hard that is on days like this?  I love my job and I have the greatest support system I could possibly have, I'm not sure I'd be able to carry on without the friends and colleagues that make up my work family.  On days like this when I want to give up, on days like this when I want to bring back the good values that I was taught of respect and class in all that you do, I simply look into the eyes of my little boy.  I continue to teach him what is right.  The kid who knows exactly when on my darkest days to remind me that he doesn't know what he would do without me. The kid that carries on through it all and does nothing but love and appreciate everyone around him the way that I wish all children should.  The wife and daughter that surround us and provide the love and laughter to help us see through the hate in this world.  Often times picking herself up to carry me through.  The people that support me and whose shoulders I will continue to stand on until we end up on the top.  Love will win, if it takes every last breath of my life, I will fight until hate is an afterthought.  

 

With Love, 

Wesley 

If you are feeling hopeless or having thoughts of ending your life, please reach out for assistance. Resources are available at https://www.projecthudson.org/get-help/

Remember that you don't have to call, you can simply text for help from the US by texting home to 741-741 or going to their website at https://www.crisistextline.org  

 

To the Parent new to child loss by Suicide & those that just don’t get it..

I wish I could tell you that it gets easier, the truth is easier it will not but in time you will learn how to navigate the pain that we endure every single day of our lives.  Today is 11/27/2017 and this day and nearly at this moment that I write this marks 22 months from the moment that I heard the vibration of my phone on a hotel night stand, on the other end, the most painful words I had ever heard were screamed through the phone.  It’s those moments that so often won’t go away for me, the vibration of a phone ringing, the scream of anyone anywhere reminding me of the panic and hysteria of that morning.  There are so many hours that I still spend retracing my steps, rethinking my actions, wondering was it one misstep or was there something more I could have done? What I’m able to recognize now is that it wasn’t one thing, it was a collection of things and years of pain that he had endured and suffered through, provoked by a multitude of challenges for his young mind.

 

As I mention the mind I think it’s fair that I share a bit about the progression of my mind and the stability of my overall mental health to help you understand how I'm progressing. Nearly 2 years in, I now recognize that holidays of any sort will always be the toughest of times, probably forever.  I was recently afforded the opportunity to do some work in the Bahamas the week of Thanksgiving, the work was conveniently happening at the world class Atlantis resort which seemed like the perfect opportunity for a funded family vacation. We had travelled away both late season holidays last year so it seemed right to do it again.  We have only been on one other family vacation since losing Hudson and that was in July of 16, just over 5 months after our loss and it was a very painful experience for me.  The pain was too fresh, the thoughts were too unstable, the placement of a room on a high floor only lead to an ongoing temptation to join Hudson. There were memories with family but my mind was nowhere near ready for that.  Fast forward to last week and I can tell you the experience was much different.  We arrived on Monday afternoon and got settled into our room.  Again, a high floor with a balcony and not a single thought of leaving the beautiful family that I was surrounded by.  Instead, I disconnected from my regular work and focused on the people around me.  The serenity and peace of the islands and everything around me was truly an escape from everything that I needed a break from.  Myself at peace enough with our loss to allow me to finally rest my own mind and allow my soul to breathe.  Looking back, I truly enjoyed my time.  I did have a very rough Thanksgiving day but only in the sense that I couldn’t stand a holiday without Hudson. That's major progress to me when I look back. 

 

While my experience and mood was very relaxed on our trip, our younger son had a bit of a rough time on one of the evenings.  Jenna somehow convinced me that we would take some family pictures on our second night there.  So, as planned on Tuesday evening, we all dressed up and headed for the beach.  While I knew it would be very hard to get through pictures, I didn’t expect what would happen next.  Shortly after a few pics were taken, Kellen got down and started drawing in the sand, he starting writing Hudson’s name in the sand and I immediately knew that he was reminiscing of a past time, 9 months before we lost Hudson when we took an unplanned spring break trip to Florida to focus on our family that had just learned of Hudson’s struggle with depression.  Kellen drew many letters and pictures but couldn’t hold his emotions in any longer and hysterically bursted into tears when we asked if he was ok.  Hudson had not been mentioned to this point and he simply couldn’t hold in his pain of memories with his hero.  We used some of his coping techniques to get him to express what he was feeling with us and it was as I had expected, he said he hated the beach because his best memories of it were with Hudson. We continued on that evening and enjoyed a great dinner with family but for the next 2 days he refused to go near the beach.  On our final day there, we were able to get him to the beach with the 4 of us to play in the sand and create some new memories, he walked away sharing that he really enjoyed that time. 

 

I share this level of detail in my life and progress because lately I’m constantly hearing these things from people that are driving me absolutely mad, things like: oh stop being negative, don’t look so down, you need a hug or something, what’s wrong... or comments like: I’d shoot myself if, he was suicidal, and the gun to head motion…. I could go on and on with the things said and done every day to me that prove no one understands what this feels like or takes into consideration my experiences.  What I want anyone living this life to understand is that those questions and statements will never stop being, no one that hasn’t experienced this will ever understand why I’m not ok on many days.  Yes, nearly 2 years later and I still have some of the most up and down weeks as I had 22 months ago.  The lows aren’t as low and the highs last longer but in the end I realize that this is my life and no one else will ever understand it, I'm the only one that can see me through this.  For those guilty of not getting it, it's quite simple.  Learn to be compassionate, learn to respect that sometimes people aren’t ok, recognize that there are days when someone could really be struggling and there is a right and a wrong way to approach them.  Don’t call it out unless you’re prepared to extend your hand and help them through it.  This is only one small view of one of the many challenges presented to us in life since our loss, not even scratching the surface of a typical week in our home but somehow some way we will cont;nue!

 

I want to say thank you to my wife Jenna for standing with me through this all, I hope all of us getting to rest our minds will help us through the next 2 very challenging months with Christmas and our 2 year “angelversary” on 1/26/18.  I love you! 

 

I’ll try to keep sharing when I can, much love to you all and thanks for taking the time to read.

 

If you are struggling to see through your pain or have lost hope, please reach out for help. Let those of us that know this pain all too well assure you that you are loved and nothing in life can’t be overcome with the love and support of those that are trained to help you through this.

Together, we will get through this. 

 

Resources are available at https://www.projecthudson.org/get-help/

 

Peace and Love to you all,

Wes

 

Grinding through it

And so it starts, busy season. One of the many hats I wear in life requires that I travel quite a bit from the months of Dec-March. I love the work that I do and the travel that comes with it but what I don't love is the anxiety that also accompanies it. You see, on 1/26/16, I was in Minneapolis, MN and had just flown there that evening. Every time I see an airport I think back to the hardest moments to maintain, the moments navigating the airport the morning of 1/27 after getting the call informing me that Hudson had completed suicide. Trying to hold it together while standing in a very lengthy security line, knowing it would still be hours before I could get home to my family. Those were some of the things that I continued to struggle with when I starting traveling again but have since overcome, although there is still the thought of that day every time I board a plane.

 

 

During this busy season I always fly out of the same airport that I left from that night. I vividly remember the state of my mind that night as we taxied for the runway. Feeling as if I didn't know what would be next or what I could do to help us navigate the latest bump in the road. Feelings that I could give up. Little did I know it would be the last bump for Hudson and the night he truly gave up.

 

As the frequency of flights ramps up I adapt and find myself to be less anxious but through this first few its tough. The separation from my family, the unavailability of me being in the air and unable to take a critical call if something were to happen, the memories stuck in my mind forever of that flight home, every moment just begging that what I was about to face was not real. The guilt that I feel now for not being home and helping with our middle son that still significantly struggles to adapt to this life. The guilt of not staying home that night and instead trusting that he would be ok... While I have learned to power through these feelings I often ask myself if this will ever go away.  Those that know this life told me long ago that at 2 years things might start to stabilize, I've never hoped so badly for something to be true. That mark is fast approaching and I still feel so far from a new normal but I'm still holding on to hope and leaning on those that can help me carry through. That list seems to get shorter everyday after our tragedy but I'm grateful for those that still hold us up, including the family that I take these trips with.  So here goes another season of grinding through, please send good vibes my way, with the support of you all, I will get through it!

Never knowing whats real and whats just me looking for it, and do I tell?

So over the weekend Kellen and I came to see Hudson at the cemetery. This was unusual due to the fact that kellen usually hates the cemetery because its too real for him.  He has now decided that he fees closer to Hudson here and over the weekend left this single sour patch kid on our monument.  

 

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He left it here for a very particular reason, to see if Hudson would become one of the animals nearby to eat it. I thought about it a bit on my way here today and realized the animals probably can't get to the top of the monument unless they are birds. I also don't think animals eat candy. But on my way here today I saw this little guy making a break for our corner right at the same time I was pulling in, how fitting. I should mention I hadn't seen him for months and I'm here quite often.  I think I'll move the sour patch kid to a lower spot and just maybe next time I'll be able to tell kellen that I think Hudsy got it. Its hard to tell him that it was still here yesterday so here's to hoping it's gone tomorrow! 

 

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Wesley Scott Blog — Project Hud;Son

Don’t Look so sad, those are the words I have heard with frequency today, in fact I’ve heard them 3 times in the last hour from 3 different people. I wish that I didn’t wear it on my sleeve but what I really wish is that it was that easy, that I could just flip a switch and not be sad.  That’s not my reality, you see today is Tuesday and no matter how hard I try to treat it as just another day, Tuesday will forever be the day that my son died.  It’s not like I’m circling it on a calendar or saying every Tuesday “oh it’s Tuesday, let’s be sad” this is just my reality. 

 

So I know when I’m having a bad day and when I do I often head straight for my safe space, that being the cemetery where Hudson rests.  Often a trip there will allow me to get my sadness out and to reset but there are days when it doesn’t work. Today is one of those days.  I then tried to go eat by myself to get back out of the house and try to reset my mind, well I chose Mexican and the entire time that I sat there, I stared at the chips & salsa thinking back to my last meal with Hudson just a few days before he ended his life.  Our favorite Mexican restaurant, I can remember exactly where we sat and hear that sound of him crunching his chips, mouth wide open.  You see everywhere I go and in everything I do, there’s sadness. Sadness because it reminds me of a piece of me that is forever missing.  So many have suggestions on how to make it go away but my reality is that it will never go away.  I gave everything I had for 14 years to someone that left me, unannounced, unexpected, and unnecessarily. 

 

The pain of losing a child is the most unique of pains but losing a child to suicide hurts that much more.  It’s the constant questions of what could have been, what might have went wrong, what could we have done differently, how and why did this happen to us? Some have suggested a grief share group but I can assure you that my pain is much different than someone who lost their dog or their grandparent, there’s sadly no place I can go where everyone will understand my pain. 

 

I want to not be sad, I want to be happy, I want to have great days just the same as anyone else.  The problem is that every time I get up, every time I find my momentum and motivation, something crashes me right back down.  And when I’m down it’s so much harder to get up, my emotions are times 1000 whether it be sad, happy, mad, frustrated, etc.  Any of these are extreme in this life.  So here I am, an hour after being told how sad I look, still feeling sad.   The hardest part is realizing that my sadness is only a fraction of the sadness that one must feel to feel like death is the only option to silence the pain. These are the days when I have to go back and read Hudson’s note to be reminded that he felt that this was what he wanted. Reminded that this is a pain that no one should ever endure alone.  I want you all to know that helping you through your sadness is honestly the best therapy to help me with mine.  There is nothing more rewarding than having a friend of his remind us that what we do is helping them through their sadness.  It’s one of the handful of things that I live for and one of the few things that reminds me of the good that comes from our pain. 

 

I wish I wasn’t sad but please don’t remind me when I am, I get that it doesn’t resonate with most but I wish that no one had to feel sadness and loss in the way that I do. Recognize, it’s my life and please don’t act surprised when I say I’m not ok.   If you’re feeling sad, please seek help.  I’m familiar and aware enough of my emotions through this experience that I know I will be ok but not everyone has the strength to navigate this on their own.  If you’re in a crisis or feeling hopeless, please text TBH to 741741.