I am not the same person and our family is not the same family since my youngest son, Tom, used a gun to end his life at age 18 in 2015. He had been living with depression for a year and had been hospitalized briefly, but was still able to easily purchase a gun and ammunition and use it to end his life several hours later. In a second, all of our lives were destroyed. It had never crossed my mind that he could buy a gun — he was barely old enough to vote. I know so much better now.
The hole punched in our lives can never be filled. We yearn for him and imagine what this sweet, creative, funny boy would have brought to the world. Now, for his birthday, instead of gifts, cake and celebrations, we send lanterns up to the sky. Scant comfort. Lives turned inside out, because our state’s gun laws didn’t protect Tom.