AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) - "God did not cause this... we could not stop it... but he is freaking using it in me, around me, and through me."
Those are words Aiken mother of 5, Terry Lee, has shared on social media since the death of her eldest child, Phillip Lee, Jr. in September.
The 29-year-old musician died by suicide weeks after coming out of a treatment program for drug and alcohol abuse. He was well-known in the Aiken/Augusta music scene for his original songs, covers, and rhythm guitar/vocals with the band Ed Turner & Number 9.
We're talking about a really difficult subject today, suicide.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. Every day some 117 Americans take their own life. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 15 and 64. More than half of those who die by suicide suffer from major depression.
My guests today have all been impacted by suicide, from death a parent, to a sibling, to a child. It's hard to hear their stories, but it is so important. Our hope in doing this show today is that someone out there, someone who's watching, or has a loved one who needs to be watching, will understand that help is a phone call away: 1-800-273-TALK, 273-8255.
Terry spoke at her son's memorial service at Cedar Creek Church, realizing she had a captive audience:
"As difficult as this is today, I will not miss the opportunity to share because this is a teachable moment."
It was something she said she never wanted to do, but she felt God called her to use this tragedy to help others. She has also continued her son's weekly social media post, Music Mondays, sharing his songs and words from his journal.
You can follow Terry's "Music Mondays" posts here.
These are other thought-provoking posts that show the depths of pain, yet the strength that comes through faith and the loving support of friends.
"I have been desperately trying to understand and make sense of what happened to my son. I can't. I will never have the answers, and those of you that know me well will know how difficult that will be for me in moving forward. But here is what I do know. For a brief moment, our son lost touch with reality and completely lost his way."
"For a brief moment, Phillip felt consumed by darkness and was unable to see the light. Though our family is still feeling overwhelmed by the darkness of our grief, we can still feel and see God's light shining in the distance. That light is there for you too, and the light's name is Jesus."
"I am trusting with my finite mind, that in His infiniteness, He will be able to light a path out of the darkness, for both you and my family."
If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Textline by texting TALK to 741741.
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