I read your article in People magazine and was amazed and saddened at some of the similarities of our stories.
First, I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful son, Johnny. What an amazing kid it looks like he was.
We lost our son too, also at the age of 19 to suicide in January of 2020. He had also been a heavy user of marijuana in the last few months of his life but had stopped the last month of his life. His anxiety came back with a vengeance when he stopped but at least he was himself again. When he was using marijuana, (his method of using was mostly blunts, not sure if he had tried dabbing or not) he was overly confident, disrespectful, risk taker that he had never been before. He was normally very sensitive to the ways others were feeling and very kind. In May of 2019, right before he was to graduate from high school, he had a serious depressive episode which led us to take him to the ER twice in a 7 day span for suicidal ideations. We spent the summer getting him into therapy and he started on medications. He did get better but then all of his friends went to college and we all decided it would be better for him to defer a year. Unfortunately, the friends he had still in town were mostly focused on using marijuana and he went right along with it. I know he had tried marijuana in high school but I don’t believe was heavy user, but I still wonder if that had maybe triggered his major depressive episode along with being uncertain and anxious about the next steps in his life. He had been an athlete his whole life with basketball and soccer and when that ended along with high school, he seemed to have lost his identity.
Like you, on that last day of his life, I hadn’t spoken with him. He had been anxious that week as several things had happened to make him feel worthless, but we had the wheels in motion to try a new therapist and look into other options. If I thought he was suicidal that day, I would’ve been there in a second. He didn’t reach out like he had the previous year when he felt that way. The hope was completely gone.