September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Read and share stories to honor survivors whose loved ones died by gun suicide.

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Ellen Parks

In memory of Derek Parks

Our son struggled with depression from the time he was a teenager. He responded well to Prozac, but hated to “have to” take it. He went through phases of feeling very well when he took it, and would go off of it and within months usually suffered another bout. When he was 32 years old he was working as a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Nashville. He was living with my sister to cut costs while paying off his student loans. He was in a bad slump when he attempted suicide with Tylenol PM but was found in time. After that, my sister removed the guns from the house.

Seven months later, my sister felt it was safe to bring the guns back in to the home. She did not know that he was calling me, telling me how depressed he was again, and I did not know she brought the guns back. Two weeks later, my sister found him dead, with a gunshot wound to the head. So terribly final. Unbearable sadness has stayed with us all, it has now been eight years since he saw the gun as the opportunity to end his pain. What if…haunts us.

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