Love to live.

You can never replace it. A second, a minute, an hour, a day. Time, one of our most precious resources. One of the best gifts we can give is our time. Laurie gave so much timYou can never replace it. A second, a minute, an hour, a day. Time, one of our most precious resources. One of the best gifts we can give is our time.

Laurie gave so much time to working with young people. Traveling with me to reservation communities to talk with young people about her experience as a soldier, as a photographer and as an activist. Her life story captivated the starry eyed youth as they pictured themselves walking sandy deserts listening to Eminem and taking a photograph of a scorpion. Humbled, honored to serve their country for a simple idea of freedom. Laurie brought out their dreams and would often say that if you visualize your dream, commit to that vision, you will achieve it.

Bryan grew up in hills of Rolette county in the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota. He used to ride his dirt bike or four wheeler across the Canadian border, joking that they had better hills than the states did. Bryan acted with all of his heart and gave everything he could to make people happy. Whether it was frying potatoes for his dad, letting his niece paint his nails (because good uncles do that) or fixing his girlfriends car….again, he gave his time as if there was too much of it.

Laurie and Bryan never knew each other. They both had me in their life and they both struggled with overwhelming dark thoughts that they weren’t worthy, or couldn’t be the people they wanted to be.

The summer of 2008 Laurie called everyone she held close and said goodbye. When she called me I was driving and my phone kept cutting out. 4 times we went back and forth and I said I will call you tomorrow when I’m home. The phone went silent and when I tried to call her back no one answered.

February 6 2012 I found Bryan, my partner on a cold floor within minutes of his heart stopping. I never got to say goodbye to Laurie, and I can still see her face when I walk past the coffee shop we used to meet at. She ended her life because she just wanted the dark thoughts to stop.

Paramedics worked on Bryan for 45 minutes in the ambulance. We could see shallow breaths, but couldn’t find his heartbeat. They got him to breath before moving him to the emergency room. His body slept for a week because of the cocktail of drugs he took. He survived.

19 out of 20 people who attempt suicide will live. Even though they survive, they are 37 times more likely to end their life a second time. It is up to us to make sure there is no second time.

Native Americans, we have the highest rate of ending our lives in suicide. We need to change that. No one need to end their life.

In my experience…It’s a humbling to know that your love may not be enough to pull someone out of the grips of darkness. It could be that love that saved a life.

For those who decide to live, or need support, and nurturing to continue to live. We need to be there.

When Bryan got out of the hospital, I didn’t know what to say, but instead of not saying anything, or isolating him, I asked what I could do to support him. As a community, we need to create the space to have courageous conversations. When we lose our loved ones, when our loved ones fail, as a community, we need to comeback to life and find those resources set up to do so.

We all want more time, and that time is more precious when we can spend it with those we love. Thank you for yours.

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