“As a parent, losing a child creates a void that remains forever.”

jake kallen

Today, January 23rd, 2020, marks the 5th anniversary of our son, brother and friend Jake Kallen’s suicide in Montana. Not a day goes by without the heaviness of his death touching us.

As a parent, losing a child creates a void that not only remains forever, but you are reminded of it all the time. For me, watching hockey, Jake’s favorite sport, just has lost some luster. We loved going to all his games and schlepping him everywhere.

During football playoffs, I want to reach for my phone and text him about players and their plays.

Jake would be 25 this year, Valentine’s Day. I’m sure he’d be dating, working productively and finding his way in the world. Alas, he made a different decision.

The charity we began, A Brighter Day, is making a difference with teens and young adults and we hope that the suicide rate for teens will decrease, in a small part, because of our efforts.

It would be easy for me to preach why we should all hug our teens today, be more understanding, ask better questions and be a better listener.

However, I would be trivializing depression and its silent effects. And we have a long way to go to really positively impact the effects of depression.

Jake, we miss you every day and wish you were here to hug.

With love always,

Elliot Kallen is the founder of A Brighter Day, a California-based non-profit inspired by his son Jake. A Brighter Day strives to unite depression and stress resources with teenagers through education and socially interactive events to help them cope with thoughts of depression, deep sadness, isolation, suicide, stress and the feeling of helplessness.

For Jake Kallen. May you have many brighter days. February 14, 1995 — January 23, 2015.