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

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Pamela Weese Powell

On August 25, 2017, my stepson, Dakota Powell, died by suicide by putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger. We found him in his bed in a sea of blood. He was 26.

Dakota was 6’4” and had a huge wing span that could wrap me in a hug that engulfed my whole being. Sometimes he smelled really bad! Dakota suffered from Major Depressive Disorder and he often wouldn’t shower for days when he felt really low. He refused treatment, and because he was 26, there was little we could do to force him to get help. He got angry with us, but we continued to love him and allow him to try to work through it as he asked us to.

We spent hours sitting, listening, watching bad TV, eating great food that he made, playing dominos, and talking about his future. He was about to buy a beautiful building where he would live, practice his art of blowing glass, and teach underprivileged kids the art he so loved. Then he ended his life with a gun that sat in my closet ignored, unlocked and to this day and for the rest of my life will haunt me.

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