Several months ago I remember thinking that someday I hope I can share Isaac’s story. He seemed to be doing so well and I was certain that there was good that could come from sharing the difficulties he walked through. I never thought it would be in this way.

I am coming here in the most vulnerable ways, a mother who is burdened with grief for her son, but also a mother who wants to shed light in a place that has had such a stigma and such darkness for so long.

I am praying I do this well, while continuing to honor my son. Some of our hardest days started exactly 2 years ago today….so in the coming days I will share some of my old journal entries, my thoughts, and my hopes as we move forward.

I am certain that there is even one person reading here that has likely struggled in silence alone…today that ends. You are not alone.


We had known that Isaac had struggled in some ways, moving to a new community was difficult, especially when he was a Freshman in High School. His first year of college didn’t work out like he had planned and just as it was for both Dominic and I who experienced the same thing….there were feelings of failure and inadequacy.

Dominic and I tried to share how God had used our uncertain paths and made something good out of them…but it is easy to tell someone that. Often times it is harder for them to walk it out themselves.

We believed that whatever or wherever Isaac landed he would be successful, we believed in him….he just didn’t see it in himself.

He and I had, what I thought, a fairly close relationship. We talked a lot and once cell phones and texting became a thing…and it became clear that he responded well to that method of communication..I used it often.

Once he went off to college I tried really hard NOT to text him every day. This was hard for me because honestly I just missed talking to him. But out of respect for his independence and needing to be in the world without his mom, I tried to set boundaries for myself.

I would text him on certain days though. The start of a new semester, or towards the end of a week just to see how things had gone…just to see how he was.

January 8, 2018 was just one of those days.

It was the first day of a new semester. Isaac had just moved from Sioux Falls where he had been living with my parents for a year taking classes from the University Center, down to Vermillion, SD where he planned to finish out his degree at USD.

We had not been able to assist him with the move into his new apartment as just days before I had a major surgery and I was still recovering. All of the details for this move seemed God planned. We had prayed about it. Doors opened for an apartment with 3 other guys, he was approved for alumni tuition rates, all the classes he wanted were available….

It just seemed like the thing he was supposed to do.

It is easy now to question if it was all a mistake, like maybe if that semester hadn’t happened then maybe not this….but I just can’t go there.

What I know is this, on January 8th, 2018 in the early morning hours I got up and wrote a prayer in my journal for Isaac. Praying that God would be with him, would bring him a mentor and a friend. Thanking God for all of the details that worked out…

I texted him that day to see how his first day of classes had gone. I started to get concerned by late afternoon when he had not replied at all. His phone went immediately to voicemail. In my gut I knew that something was not ok. I guess a mama knows.

Late that afternoon I would search the online police logs for his community and see that a call had been made on his street for a “medical emergency” the evening before…..