My 18yo son lost another friend to suicide by a firearm this weekend. Friend was 17, and lived in Texas. Heartbroken, again. Second friend in 6 months. My son asked to go to the grocery store with me last night. I just listened to him talking about his two friends he has lost and hugged him by the ice cream and again by the produce. There is a beauty to that…conversations about the heaviness of life…. while shopping late at night.. with a son who is a foot taller than me. Oh. My. Heart.

His first friend’s death, about 6 months ago, was the impetus for founding the nonprofit and the Hold My Guns project. The weight of it all is suffocating today. I love guns, and I love people. There is no dichotomy by those statements. The conversation about mental health and gun safety is not anti-American..

I noticed that I get the same hard-headed negative energy pushback from people, who don’t want to engage in the mental health convo, as when a person is trying to better themselves through education and yet their family sees it as being uppity. Stigma is a bitch.