By JEFF BOMBEN
The weather was chilly and the wind was blowing as a soft-spoken mother talked about a tragedy in her life for the first time in public.
The heavy-hearted mother could not hold back the tears as she spoke to the audience about her daughter, Mariah Simcoe-Dawson. The 15-year old Kitchener teen committed suicide Jan.1, 2011. In response, her mother has started Mariah’s Mission to support suicide prevention education.
“I got the courage from my daughter.” Jeanna Simcoe-Dawson said ” I do not have her around me everyday. Mariah’s Mission is all I have to keep going – to keep her legacy of hope and change. If I can help one family, or even one child for this not to happen, this why is I keep doing what I do.”
Mariah’s Mission has teamed up with the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council (WRSPC) to help students understand that they are not alone.
“I think people are afraid to talk about suicide because if they talk about it they think it will actually happen. Suicides are happening and no one is talking about it.” Simcoe-Dawson said.
This year, the TABU music festival supported the cause, donating all proceeds to WRSPC. The free event, which took place Sept. 16 in Waterloo Town Square, featured 20 bands as well as Simcoe-Dawson who spoke about her daughter and Mariah’s Mission.
“Today is truly amazing. At one time, we would never be in the Public Square talking about suicide. The community has come a long way,” said Tana Nash, co-ordinator of WSPRC.
The past year has been incredibly heart-wrenching for Simcoe-Dawson and her other daughter Kendra. In addition to losing Mariah, she also lost her husband and her mother.
Her daughter, Mariah, lost her life on Jan. 1, 2011 after battling depression for years. She was a popular, full of life person who attended Kitchener’s Eastwood Collegiate where she studied her passion for art.
Jeanna described Mariah as wise beyond her years.
“She was 15, she would always shock people because she looked like she was 18 and she spoke like she was 20. She was very mature for her age,” she said.
The following is an excerpt from, My End To My Beginning, written by Mariah Simcoe-Dawson at the age of 13, two years before her passing.
Hardness falls deep down.
As I try not to show it
The brightness of my new beginning shines.
I will start my end to fix my beginning
As it’s left, in my hands whom to become