Posted: Sep 11, 2012 1:25 PM by Jeanelle Slade - MTN News
Updated: Sep 11, 2012 1:48 PM
BILLINGS- Unless you've experienced losing someone you love to suicide, there's really no way to truly understand. MTN reporter Jeanelle Slade recently sat down with a mom who lives that pain every day.
"He took life from the minute he was born he was going, going, going," Jill Wilson said when talking about her son Kevin Zahn.
He was the youngest of two boys, her baby, and growing up he loved people, school, friends and life. "[He] took life by the horns. He was adventuresome," Wilson recalled.
But Kevin also lived a tormented life. "At night I would go down and tell him good night. And the next morning I would go down to tell him good morning and find that he had rearranged his room," Wilson said.
He often couldn't sleep, couldn't focus- and in February 2009 at age 19, Kevin confided in his mom that he had voices in his head.
"When he shared the voices with me, he told me [that] I did not want to know what they said. I guess now I know," Wilson told us.
Kevin repeatedly refused counseling and medication for fear of looking like a failure, and four months later he walked out the door and never returned.
"I knew that his mental illness must have been so bad that he either thought he was going to do something bad to someone that he didn't want to do...[that's why] he took his own life," Wilson explained.
Kevin Zahn was found the next day east of Billings where detectives say he spent six to eight hours before shooting himself. He contemplated and wrote a six page letter to those he loved the most.
"Not condemning at all. [He] loved life and his family and friends. He said when you think of me, 'I will live forever'," Wilson said.
It was an incredible loss that his mom says can be avoided. "Listen to your children. If it doesn't seem right, It might not be," she advised. "Exhaust all efforts to get them the help that they need. Get them into treatment if you can."
But now she can't ever let go. "If I had one more day, I'd never let him go. I would hold him, I would treasure him. I treasured him, but if I had one more day, I would never let him go," she concluded.
Jill is now a Suicide Awareness Educator and says there are signs you can pick up on, and even if a child or any other loved one says they don't want help, there are immediate steps you can take.
Click here to learn more about understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy.