Within hours of losing Josh on 7/28/18, we found our family to be so incredibly blessed to have our family and friends (and friends who have become family) flood us with love and support. They held us up when we couldn’t stand and have literally rescued us in the face of unspeakable tragedy. And they listened without judgement, spoke honestly, and most importantly, were PRESENT for us. EVERY DAY for the first month, SOMEONE (often many) stayed with us – LIVED with us. It was truly a lifeline.
As the weeks passed, we all had to figure out our new normal and get back to work. Our younger children (ages 5, 10, and 12 at that time) were in need of help processing Josh’s death. So, we started taking time in the evenings after dinner to do exercises that encouraged each of us to share our thoughts, feelings, and memories of life with Josh. I felt we also needed a form of art therapy that we could do together and would allow space and time to connect organically. I remembered a vacation to Ocean City in 2017 when we were introduced to rock painting at The Art League of Ocean City and how much we all enjoyed it and interacted with each other. So I gathered some rocks and paints and thus began a new journey… we started with memory rocks and somehow switched to things we would say to Josh or someone like him.
In early September, the evenings began to cool off enough for comfortable front porch sitting and chatting. Bill and I were talking about our family’s grief processing and how healing it was to finally get the kids talking and sharing. As the conversation moved on to strengthening lives with love through Josh’s foundation, it hit me. I asked Bill what he thought about creating a rock painting group and calling it Suicide Prevention Rocks and he almost jumped out of his seat.
“I can do that right now!” he almost shouted. And that’s exactly what he did; about ten minutes later, Suicide Prevention Rocks was born. Today is August 31, 2019 – not quite one year later – and our membership crossed the 15,000 member mark this afternoon. It may have been my idea, but it was Bill who made it his mission to spread the message far and wide. Our loving community of over 15,000 people spreads across the world on every populated continent, in over 61 countries, and every state across the US.
I can’t even begin to express how much this group means to me. It is a lot of work, but it’s a beautiful thing. We’ve made some REAL connections through this group as well. What a blessing! The amazing artwork I see and heartfelt messages I read EACH AND EVERY DAY are often the lift I need to get me over what sometimes feels like a mountain. Suicide Prevention Rocks is DEFINITELY “Strengthening Lives With Love!”.
Want to join us as we Rock the World for Suicide Prevention? September 10this international suicide prevention day! Learn more about the Rock The World mission here!
Josh Chretien is the boyfriend of Josh York, and a founder of the organization. After spending a little over 5 years in the Marines, he decided to get out and fulfill life, which led to later meeting Josh York, and he now runs his own company, Priceless Consulting LLC and this foundation, The Joshua York Legacy Foundation.