IF YOU ARE FEELING SUICIDAL OR NEED TO TALK CALL THE NATIONAL LIFELINE
When Andrew died, I knew I had to do something!
Andrew’s funeral was still to come. My house was bursting with food, people and flooding with tears.
My Andrew’s face was splashed all over the internet and on every newspaper there was. Journalists were ringing my phone and my door bell.
I knew though that all this would die down. I knew that unless I did something, my Andrew, my beautiful and brave Knight, would become a footnote on another suicide story.
“It’s never going to happen,” I said out loud, and everybody in the full kitchen turned to look at me. “My son is not going to end here, not like this. Not my son!”
But I knew nothing about suicide, well, that is, other than my son had died of it.
During the first interview I agreed to, the week after Andrew died, I told Shawn Cohen, of the Journal News, that I felt our paradigms of health and education needed scrutiny. I told him that I felt that a new age needed to be ushered in and that we could be willing and helpful participants of this change.
Other than that, I was not able to articulate, or even imagine what I could do, what part I could play.
All I knew and felt, was that Andrew’s death was the beginning of hope for others, that his death had ignited a light that would become a big shining beacon of life for numberless others.
I quickly succumbed to depression, panic, fear, my solar plexus was squeezed in a vice and I’d find no respite anywhere. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, in a few weeks I lost thirty-nine pounds. Most of the time I couldn’t even stand upright.
“I have to get better,” I kept telling myself, making myself write, making myself, at the very least, walk from my bed to the sofa in the living room. And even though I just lay there, at least I’d feel I wasn’t spending the whole time in bed.
But thinking about Andrew, thinking about this mission he’d given me, thinking about this work we’d do together, was like the oxygen that kept me alive.
I won’t go into all the details of how I got there, but finally, this past week, that initial thought of “having to do something,” that misty vision, has been translated into a fully articulated, clearly spelled out, mission statement.
I am grateful to my daughter Florentina, her friend Kristina for their help drafting the statement and to Nova, Terry, Naiomi, Anne, reader & volunteer extraordinaire, Rayo, for their comments and help, reviewing it.
As Andrew’s 21st birthday approaches the 21st of this month, I am pleased and proud to share it with you.
Mission, Vision and Goals
“Get Your Wellness On” is a grass roots movement to promote health and save lives. Encouraging dialogue and education to reduce the incidence of mental illnesses that can lead to suicide, “Get Your Wellness On” promotes Eastern and Western approaches to mind and body health. The movement advances a general understanding of wellness that will empower individuals to take charge of their overall health.
Wellness through education, dialogue, openness, understanding and action is promoted through:
• Out-of-the-box suicide awareness and prevention fairs
• Creation of suicide prevention trainings and health workshops
• Collaboration with suicide prevention organizations such as the AFSP, media, and legislators
• The Share Your Story initiative
• Promotion of exhibits and other initiatives such as Active Minds Send Silence Packing traveling exhibit
• Walls Of Love exhibition
In addition, the founder, activist and writer Esmeralda Williamson-Noble, whose twenty-year-old son Andrew died of suicide on November 3, 2009—along with volunteers of Get Your Wellness On—are available for interviews, workshops and panel and discussion forums.
• University students, staff & administrators
• Parents of school-age children
• Care givers & educators
• Anyone who is struggling or has struggled with depression, suicidal thoughts and who may be at risk of suicide