‘It was the call that changed the trajectory of my life.’: Mom shares new calling after being informed of daughter’s suicide

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Disclaimer: This story contains mentions of suicide which may be triggering to some. 

The Call

“Why I am thinking of this is beyond me. Fortunately, for the most part, I have been able to put the details of ‘the call’ in the back of my mind, but somehow, the memories unwelcomingly crept back to the surface.

You might remember at one time or another you received a call that left an imprint in your mind. One call may have been telling you that you were going to be grandparents! It may have been a call from your best friend who announced she was getting married! It may even have been from your boss telling you the promotion was yours. Receiving any one of those calls left a joyful feeling that stayed with you.

As for me, I remember exactly where I was standing when I received ‘the call’ that tests had confirmed my mom had cancer. Or ‘the call’ from my husband, saying he had been in a car accident and I should come get him. Whether ‘the call’ was good news or not, it became ‘the call’ because somehow it made your heart beat faster or sent a wave of fear deep through your soul. Either way, ‘the call’ can not easily be forgotten.

The Day Our Lives Changed

‘THE CALL’ I received early that cold February morning of 2019, after three hours of prayers, promises and panic, was a paralyzing, life-altering, core-shaking phone call that was utterly impossible to prepare my mind or heart for. It was something I had heard many times on a favorite television crime show. Something I could repeat word for word if asked. But this time, the voice was asking to talk to me. This time, I became the one that needed to be ‘informed.’ This time, I was the one who confirmed that, ‘Yes, I am her mother.’ And I was the one who listened as the deep voice gently, or was it  matter of factly, told me I would never be the same again.

Nope, there is nothing at all in this life to prepare the heart for those words. Nothing. In the movies, I’ve seen someone scream. Others collapsed to the floor, and begged over and over that it could not be true. But for me, silence. I had no words in me.

My husband, held me for I don’t know how long, and then we moved forward like robots, unable to decipher the nightmare from reality. We knew we needed to search for the words to somehow tell our loved ones as they soon received ‘THE CALL’ from us. The one ‘call’ that would be embedded in their minds forever. How unfair was life at that moment?

A Call To Action

Sometime after taking ‘the call,’ Jeff and I shared that we had silently and unspokenly worried about that call since the day Dani first attempted to take her life at the tender age of 15. Fortunately, I guess, it was a call held at bay for 18 more years. It was a call we did not allow ourselves to entertain or discuss, for fear it might someday come true. It was ‘the call’ that changed the trajectory of my life, my husband’s, my kids’ and so many others.

Finally, this was ‘the call’ that left us no other choice but to start 33 Forever, Inc., a nonprofit geared toward helping those with depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, in the days after her death. This was ‘the call’ that fueled our passion to fight and prevent other moms, dads, families, or friends from finding themselves answering the phone just to realize, for them, this was ‘the call’ they never ever wanted to answer.”

framed picture of mom with daughter
Courtesy of Donna Heck

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Donna Mencini Heck from Mansfield, Ohio. You can follow her journey on Instagram, her blogFacebook, and her website. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more from Donna here:

I Wondered How I Could Do Forever When I Couldn’t Make It Through Today

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‘How am I today? Terrible, thanks for asking.’: Mother candidly shares grief over daughter’s suicide

‘Please check on your loved ones every chance you get.’: Mom of daughter lost to suicide urges others to ask questions

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