Jordan Bowman would have been 21.
He was young and funny, a great big brother and an apprentice builder. But he was also carrying something inside him.
Next Sunday, his mum Kerri wants to honour all of that – the light and the dark.
In November 2017, Jordy took his own life.
“I just want to break that fear of talking about it down,” Kerri says. “I know there are a lot of people out there who are affected by it that shut down. As hard as the pain is, if you don’t face it what do you do with it?”
On February 23, the day before her son’s birthday, she is organising a Hope Walk from Anzac Park to Tahunanui Beach.
“So many people out there hide it or have hidden it,” Kerri says. “This walk is to say ‘this happens and we need to talk about it’.”
She says the guilt, shame and pain attached to suicide are ugly.
“There are the things I could have, should have, would have that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.”
At the conclusion of the walk she wants people to be able to let lanterns go into the water as a way of symbolising letting go of that sort of guilt.
“For me it’s all about hope. If you haven’t got that what have you got.”
She says Jordy was the last person you would expect to have made such a decision. But he kept his feelings to himself.
“That’s why I want to talk about it because it can happen to anybody.”
Hope Walk starts at Anzac Park at 4pm on February 23.