So Isaac is gone. There is nothing we can do to bring him back. However, we can let his death inspire us.
This is what you now know about Zion:
----The initial mission
----The building progress
----The pains of programming
----The success of promoting healthy lifestyles (5ks etc)
----The staff comradery
----The good times
----The bad times
Isaac's death affected us in ways that many will never understand and unfortunately many do understand. Almost one year to the date of Isaac's death, my son's classmate died by suicide. I took my son to the visitation. Seeing the pain and realization on his face that someone his age had died by suicide was heartbreaking to me. I came to work the next day and told Lori and Heather about it. We decided that day that Zion must now be a part of the struggle that our youth are experiencing.
Lori & I decided that her Faith, Family, & Friends 5K was now going to be called the Connect-Communicate-Care 5K. We joined that event together with a light the lake ceremony. We then decided to add yoga to the event so that we could offer something for everyone.
We truly believe that physical fitness can help with depression. We also truly believe that Zion is a very special place for people to get away from their problems. There is a feeling here like no other. When you are sitting on the dock looking out at the lake, watching the trees blow in the wind you feel peace. We have actually been told this by passerbys.
I had only been working at Zion for about a month when this gentlman came into the office. He said he and a co-worker were driving past our office the previous day on the way to work at the gas wells. When they left work that evening they started having a conversation about God. He stated that he is not a religious person and he has never really had conversations with anyone about God or religion. However, that night for some reason he did. When he had to return to work the following day he noticed our sign that read Zion Christian Retreat & Nature Center. He stopped in the office and told us what had happened the night before. Before he left, he said something that has stuck with me. This is what he said, "I really don't know what you all do here but I just had to stop and tell you what happened with me yesterday. You all have something real special going on here."
Since this is my blog I guess it's time to admit that I have struggled with my relationship with God for several years and I do not attend church. I won't bore you with the reasons. If you want to know them, message me and I'll tell you. Maybe we can start up a conversation! With that being said, I love the "feeling" that I get when I am at Zion. It truly is a place to Reflect-Relax-Retreat.
In the past week, I have read about 2 teen suicides. One is a Northwestern basketball player who was having a great season and was always happy. Read about her story in this link.
Isaac was happy too. Or so we thought.
I ask you this, What are we missing? What can we do to help our youth today?!
May & June of 2015 were very busy for us at Zion. I couldn't wait to go on vacation!
We all were working a lot of hours. We were all tired & cranky. Isaac had been sick off and on for a couple of weeks. He missed several days of work. There was a heavy rain the night before the day he returned to work. The rain damaged the beach area and we had to clean it up.
On June 25, 2015, I remember seeing Isaac sweeping the water out of the bathroom at the beach. I asked him how he was feeling and he said his stomach was still bothering him but he was feeling a little better. I told him that I was glad he was starting to feel better and we went about our work. The next thing I know Isaac is going home because he's not feeling good. I never saw him to say good bye before I left for vacation.
On Friday June 26, 2015 my family & I left for Gatlinburg Tennessee. We rented a cabin, visited museums, & did a lot of sightseeing. It was a lot of fun. I remember walking through downtown Gatlinburg on Saturday and my daughter telling me that she saw a post on social media that Isaac was missing. I just blew it off and told her that he was probably just out running around and lost track of time. He's young and just graduated high school so he should be out having fun. A few hours later, I received a phone call from Lori Smolira. She informed me that Isaac was found in his car with a gunshot wound. He had died by suicide.
I could not believe what I had just been told. I worked with Isaac two days prior. We talked and had a few laughs but he never seemed sad. Isaac always had a smile on his face. He had just graduated high school. He was talking about going to a local college but he wasn't really sure what he wanted to do with his life. He had so much to look forward to. I just could not believe that he was dead.
When I returned home from vacation, the grief at Zion was heavy and rumors were everywhere. What happened? Why? I didn't care about the rumors. I just wanted to talk to Isaac and ask him how he was doing. I wanted an honest answer from him not just the usual, "I'm fine."
I attended Isaac's visitation on July 5, 2015, my birthday. I stood over his casket in disbelief. Wondering what could I have done or said to help him. What signs did I miss? What was so bad in his life that he wanted to leave?
Isaac was buried on July 6, 2015.
Hi, I'm Lori Kovacs.