I started this foundation with my family as a way to remember Ben. It quickly changed and became a way to not only remember Ben but to also talk about mental health.
The ladies on this board are my friends. They each bring something different to this foundation and I could not do it without them.
Our lives were devastated when we lost Ben. I don’t want any other family to suffer if I can help it.
There are people you meet that become family. The Morrisons are one such family and Ben was our kid! I have dealt with depression and mental health issues myself and realize how important it is in this changing society to reach children early and reinforce that it is ok to ask for help! It is ok to not be ok!
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t replay March 2nd in my mind. Since then, my sister has made it her mission so that no family will have to go through what we did. To turn a terrible memory into something positive. It began as a way to honor Ben and to heal but has morphed into so much more. When I think about why I want to be involved, there are so many reasons – Tori, the rest of our family, my friends. But I think even more important are the people out there that we don’t even know. People we will never meet. Ben’s memory will live on through them.
On the day of Ben Morrison’s memorial, a day filled with grief and mourning I experienced the power of hope that comes from brotherhood; the strength of coming together to face life’s hardest moments and defy any more like them.
When I walked into the chapel, I witnessed walls lined with standing young men wearing Ben’s number on their chests, like a human wall of support; strength in solidarity. Did they feel it? Do they still? This is what I like to think of as the the power of Ben, of coming together for Ben. The power of rising together to show that you are there. Of rising together against any more loss and in support of acknowledging all that was lost.
I arrived alone that afternoon in that chapel, and realized I never felt less alone. The moving grace of this human support became a metaphor for the shroud of mental illness and what it takes to disarm it. What it takes to remove that shroud of darkness, isolation, and sadness, is others. It is light, hope, the grace and kindness of those who look, who acknowledge, who stand beside and behind the lost and safeguard them until they recover their strength, find their way. This has to be intentional. It takes proactivity. It takes honesty and difficult conversations and facing human darkness to find the way through it and fight its stronghold. We all know those who struggle with mental illness, it can happen to anyone and is a terrifying foe. The enlightened embrace of community can be a lifeline. Standing up together is a superpower. Count me in.
I wanted to be involved with the Ben Morrison Foundation in honor of my children. As I have watched them struggle and work through their own issues with insecurity, anxiety, depression, and OCD I have learned firsthand how important it is to keep the conversation going. What the world sees is only a small part of who we are.