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Things are Broken

There are times when pretending things are okay simply is not okay any more. Our mental health system and services are not proving what they are supposed to, and it’s time we started saying “it’s not okay!”

The story of Dajon Reed

This is a story that ended before its time. Dajon’s story wasn’t finished, and because of the love of his mother, it still might be heard. She is telling everyone who will lend her an ear. We think it’s important you know the story.

The Story Started like so Many Others

At sunrise, in Fresno: March 29th in the year 1995, Dajon Reed first opened his eyes and was welcomed into the world. He struggled with mental illness from an early age and was diagnosed with schizophrenia before he was 18 years old.

Let Down by the System

Here is a video of a phone conversation we had with Dr. Michelle Gonzales Reed, his mother about what happened after he turned 18 years old and was considered by the State of Californa, an adult.

Dajon passed away at Sunset, July 27, 2019. At this news, friends, family, and loved ones were devastated. His mother Michelle was completely crushed and burnt to the ground, but from the ashes, she emerged like a phoenix, with a new purpose. She knows she can’t bring him back, but if she can help one other mother from the same heartache, she will. Petition

Facebook Page

This Facebook page is a Memorial and a place where Michelle gets signatures for the petition and to bring awareness to the need for Mental Health Care Reform of the LPS Act.  Also a place you can find many photos

An Inspired Poem

I am a mother.

I am a bereaved mother, devastated by the trauma of caring for a mentally ill Son who lost his life. I had hope’s and dreams for my Son and I believed and fought to the end for my Son.

My Son died, and this is my reluctant path. My Son did not die in his right mind. I know he knew enough to call out for Yeshua that is all. I didn’t get to hold him or see him one last time. This is not a path of my choice, but it is a path I must walk mindfully and with intention.

If I could have gave my life in exchange for my Son I would have done it and still would to this day if it meant he could be happy and whole and enjoy his life.

This is a journey through the darkest night of my soul and and my being. Only the light of Yeshua keeps me

You may have never had a child or you had one and you got over the loss, but my Son and I were very very close and it will take me a life time to walk through the painful places.

Every fiber of my being aches and longs to be with my Beloved Son. On days when grief is loud, I may be impatient, distracted, frustrated, and unfocused. I may get angry more easily and I may seem hopeless. I will shed many, many, many tears. I won’t smile as often as my old self. Smiling hurts now. Most everything hurts most days, even breathing as I relive the trauma, I am human

Don’t speak, just pray with me as Yeshua asked the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, don’t sleep on me

But please say nothing.

Do not offer a cure.

Or a pill, or a word of Christianese or philosophy. I know he is in heaven, I know he isn’t hurting, I know he’s in a better place, but it doesn’t change what he suffered while here or lessen my loss. You don’t know the half of what he suffered, only that he cycled in and out of mental hospitals, the system failed him, people left him, I watched his personality disintegrate and way more than I care to discuss. Witness my suffering and pain and if you care don’t turn away from me.

Please be gentle with me.

As I try to be gentle with me and love myself as he loved me, I struggle with this

I will not ever “get over” my Son Dajon’s death so please don’t urge me down that path. You have no idea what I lost.

Even on days when grief is quiescent when it isn’t standing loudly in the foreground, even on days when I am even able to smile again, the pain is just beneath the surface.

There are days when I still feel paralyzed. My chest feels the sinking weight of my Son’s absence and, sometimes, I feel as if I can’t go on.

Yes I preach, I preach with more passion and fire than ever before and what the devil meant to kill me, God will cause to work for my good and will save many people….yes the deep loss will gift me in some way. But hear me well, for me anything gained was too high a cost when compared to what was lost.

Don’t dare to tell me this was God’s will. It is His will to give us life and hope, and an expected end that is good but He will use what the devil means for evil and bring good out of every evil no matter what.

Don’t tell me how I should or shouldn’t be grieving from the loss and the traumatic way my Son left this earth or that I should “feel better by now.” Don’t tell me what’s right or wrong.

Don’t tell me I can’t grieve and walk through the trauma out loud, I’ve had so much taken from me in my life you have no idea, and I took all of that and didn’t make a big deal even though everything taken from me was a big deal, father, mother, siblings, grandparents, loss of innocence and more…..but my Son, Lord don’t take my Son didn’t have a chance to pass from my lips….only “Lord don’t let him have any more pain, please” the Lord granted my request, my Son was vulnerable and victimized and at risk for more victimization….He saved my Son when I could not…He saved my Son from a world where there was no help for him or me

God is guiding me in the way, I’m staying close to Him, He has me and will carry me through and home where He will wipe every tear from my eyes and there will be no more pain

I know my promises lie on the other side with my Son because He who promised is faithful. I have only a glimpse of the joy that is coming when I go home

I know God has a plan to use my Son’s story and to use what almost killed me You hurt now for me and my Son but as the months and days go by you won’t be as affected by my loss. When you forget, imagine your own child, flesh of your flesh, leaving this earth at 24 years old tragically.

Never graduated high school, never fulfill his dreams, never will get married or never will have a child, lots of never’s because he was too sick…Imagine you will never see your child on this earth again and waking up feeling that everything is “okay” …it never is for me… I have a new normal now.

Always remember that not a second of any minute of any hour of any day passes when I am not aware of the presence of my Son Dajon’s absence, no matter how many years pass by, he is with me always in my heart.

Dajon’s absence is like the sky spread over everything (C.S. Lewis). Everything I do reminds me of my Beloved Dajon

Don’t forget to say, “How are you really feeling…?” Don’t forget that even if I do have living children, my heart still aches for my Son who is not here— for I am never complete without my Son.

My Son may have died but my love — and my motherhood— never will. I am still Dajon’s mother.

-Dr. Michelle Reed: My Inspired version of the Dr. Joanne Cacciatore letter

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Steven Crouch

Steven was born and raised in Southern California. He attended Los Angeles Pierce College before moving to Bakersfield where he attended California State University Bakersfield for his graduate studies. He started S.R.Crouch & Associates, a healthcare and mental health practice consulting firm shortly after graduating. During his career Steven has worked as a consultant starting psychiatric programs in medical/surgical hospitals. He was also the administrator of a large medical group in Kern and Ventura Counties and taught at the local University. In 1993 and over the years he had the opportunity to spend time with Sydney Banks (Syd, as he liked to be called) who had a realization of his experience which has forever changed humanity. Steven is a passionate educator of interns and trainees concerning the impact this understanding could have on individuals, families, employers, teachers and communities in general. Steven loves decorating, fashion, film, fishing, sitting on the beach, gardening and cooking. Having lost both a son and daughter as well as being a cancer survivor, he has personally seen the value of appreciating the moments in life. Steven considers himself extremely blessed to have is wife Renee by his side as his life partner and colleague since 1992 when they married after only dating 6 months. They reside in Bakersfield, California with their three children Corbin, Canon and Ivy.

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