About the Brimhall Family
Interviewer : I hope to start out really with, with bit more about Cade. If you could tell me, um and for our audience and for kids and their parents that are watching, just a little bit about what he was like, his characteristics, and you mentioned he was an Eagle Scout, that he was sensitive and that he just started high school, if you could me just a little bit about him.
Jan : Well, Cade was um, fourteen years old and had just, was a freshman at Provo High School and was so excited to be there and be part of the high school. He had an older brother that was also at the high school the same year. Just was so excited to be able to go off campus and buy lunch. Um, had some great friends at the high school, knew a lot of the kids because he had a brother that was two years older. Uh, fun loving, very athletic, good looking um just a great young man.
Interviewer : Okay. What would you like other parents to know, we talked about a message that, because of the experience that you’ve gone through, that you would like other parents to know?
Jan : Um, the thing that I think is most important that we’ve learned, um, from this experience is that sometimes when, when someone’s struggling or having a problem they, they will tell other people. The day that Cade died, he, he told ten of his friends, um, that he was going to hurt himself that day and uh, we didn’t know that until afterwards when police interviewed some of his friends. But uh, you know, ten people knew but because they were unknowledgeable about what to do with that information, they didn’t share it with anyone and it could have made a big difference for him if they’d have just told an adult, any adult.
Jan : Um, the day that Cade died he had mentioned to a number of friends that he was thinking about hurting himself and um, almost, I think the police said there were ten different people he had mentioned that too and um, they didn’t give that information to anyone and, and those kids didn’t know what to do that information and consequently didn’t tell anyone and that could have made a big difference for Cade had they known that they could tell someone and that it would be okay to share that information. It could have made a big difference for Cade and for our whole family.
Richard : Hard for kids to take it serious when somebody says (clock in background) something and they need to take it serious enough….(Laughter). Maybe I’ll just have Jan give it, she’s doing great.
Interviewer : You know what, you know what, we encountered this all the time.
Jan : That’s going to go every fifteen minutes.
Interviewer : Okay, we’ll work around it, that’s okay.
Jan : I’m sorry. My dad made that clock for me by the way, isn’t it gorgeous?
Interviewer : He made that?
Jan : Yeah.
Richard : In fact, all the stuff that’s in that, what we kind of, people have given us after Cade died. Little statues and stuff and out in the garden his friends, leave stuff at Cade’s funeral, at Cade’s grave all the time and we don’t know they are but we take and put it out in the garden outside and we have a tree outside that is been put there in Cade’s, I planted it when Cade died here and one down at the church. But anyway we got, when these people that leave things at his grave, we just bring it here and put it in our garden or by the tree. So.
Interviewer : That’s beautiful. Okay you were going to start off…
Richard : If kids say something take it seriously these kids, uh, maybe they’re not going to hurt themselves but obviously it happened to our son and try to, you know, get some help, don’t just think it’s not going to happen because we’re here to tell you it does happen. And it happened to us and uh, when kids are depressed or going through something to make sure they take it serious these warnings.
Interviewer : What about the issue, we talked a little bit in the kitchen, about the issue of the difference between boys and girls and that boys often struggle with communicating, do you want to talk to kids a little bit about that?
Richard : Well what I’ve found that uh, seems like boys and girls attempt this in different, different ways. And boys uh, seem to be a lot more successful and when they, when they do this they, they’re serious about it and then, I don’t know how to put this but uh…
Jan : Yeah, I don’t want to say successful, I don’t like that.
Richard : I don’t either (talks over Jan). I don’t want to say successful either.
Interviewer : Okay. Let’s start over then. You need to talk about, you need to talk about the way they communicate or the lack of communication with boys…
Jan : That they have the difficulty. (talks over Interviewer)
Interviewer : ….not be afraid to speak….(Richard & Jan both talking over her)
Richard : You go ahead. Go ahead and I’ll just fall in.
Jan : It’s okay if you but don’t say successful…
Richard : No go ahead. I don’t like that.
Jan : …cause that sounds. I don’t like that. Well often times our children have different ways of communicating and young men for some reason have a more difficult time sharing feelings. They uh, you know, want to be um, strong and they feel like its manly to not have, see now that’s not good either. But, uh, let me start over.
Interviewer : Yeah, if you want to think about it for a second. I, maybe framing it with, you know, boys and girls often have different ways of communicating, like to start it and saying you want boys to know that it’s not a weakness to speak up.
Jan : Okay. Um, often times our, our children have different ways of communicating, especially boys and girls. And it’s fine for young men to share their feelings with someone. It doesn’t have to be a parent but it can be a special adult in their life, a teacher or maybe someone in their church. Uh, a parent is the ideal and I think that would be the best thing to do but it’s great to share your feelings. Everybody has them. Men have feelings just as much as women do and they need to be able to share those feelings, the good and the bad.
Interviewer : Richard, did you want to add anything?
Richard : Um, no what I, just what Jan said is that young men don’t seem to communicate with each other and because they maybe think it’s a sign of weakness but unfortunately we’ve grew up in a society where we think that is but that, the kids need to make their feelings known and not be ashamed of those feelings and express what they’re feeling and get help from, like Jan said, a special friend and a counselor or somebody in their church but just tell somebody and don’t hold those feelings up within you because that just compounds to the feelings.
Interviewer : That’s terrific. That was a very (unintelligible) statement.
Jan : I did hear the truck too.
Interviewer : Yeah. Do you what, we’ll just live with it. I think we’re going to be okay. Yeah.
Jan : Sorry.
Interviewer : That’s a good, it was such a good message. Um, you know, we talked about some of the reasons that you thought maybe kids don’t get help, we talked about stigma and those kinds of things and um, you, you talked about that and and also, well, yeah, just talk about the whole issue of stigma around mental health issues and so kids don’t want to reach out sometimes and maybe even parents don’t because their worried about the stigma.
Jan : Um, well I feel like there’s a, a big stigma with any kind of a mental health issue, um, and it’s like I had said if, if one of my boys were playing a football game and was injured and broke their arm, I’d immediately take them to the doctor and get it x-rayed and get them medical help. But for some reason, as a society if someone says, you know, I’m depressed or I just feel like crying all the time or I feel angry, we don’t know how to handle that. We, we just kind of, we’re not sure what do to so sometimes we don’t do anything. And we need to learn how to take action when, when we find out there’s a problem. We need to call our family doctor or we need to take them to the emergency room at the hospital if, if that’s the only available option at that point. But we need to do something. We can’t just look the other way and think well this will go away or you’ll better tomorrow. I think that’s really important.
Interviewer : Would you like to add anything?
Richard : Well, it’s like, adding to what Jan said, you know, depression is okay deal with it, get better and uh, if you had a broken arm or broken foot you don’t deal with it and get better, you need help. You need a cast or an operation and same with depression or any of those feelings that you don’t deal with it you get help, and professional help, either, wherever you can get it.
Interviewer : Okay, that was good. Um, we talked about the stigma um, you talked about what you’re families gone through and often times, I told you that in talking with the teens that we’ve been working with, they have or at some point they’ve had this feeling that it would be bet, my family would be better off if I’m just not here or my friends would be better off or I’m a failure and so um, they end their life because of that. Could you share with our viewers the difference, the impact that it made on your family and your feelings about those kinds of thoughts?
Jan : Well, every, every holiday, every birthday, every time I set the dinner table and there’s one person that’s not there, we feel this big, you know, missing part of our life and it’s a part we’ll never be able to fill. We’ll never be able to replace Cade, nor would we want to. We’ll never get to see who he chose to marry. We’ll never get to meet his children. We’ll never get to do any of those things with him that we always thought we’d do and it’s like this big gap in our life and it’s not just us, Richard and I, it’s his brothers and his sister and his grandparents, and aunts and uncles and cousins and lots of friends. So, even if you don’t think your important to your family, you’re really important to your family. You know, there’s lots and lots of people out there that love you and want you to be part of their life forever. So don’t ever think that and if you’re thinking that then get some help. Talk to somebody and tell them you’re feeling that way and get, get some help.
Interviewer : That was great. Do you want to add something?
Richard : Well (clears throat) what, one things about the first time I, we had Thanksgiving without Cade and there was an empty chair uh, it’s hit home all the time but that was really hard. And one thing it’s, I, I live my life to have no regrets anymore. I mean, we were a loving family before but uh, my boys are all big, I mean they’re big guys and uh, we don’t uh, go anywhere without hugging and telling each other we love each other. And uh, you need to do that every opportunity, you need to tell people you love them, and uh, have no regrets in what you’ve done in your life. And the people you love let’s, makes sure you know that they love you and uh, Cade knew that he was loved. But uh, hug ‘em and tell them you love them and don’t be ashamed of doing that.
Jan : And do it often.
Richard : And do it often.
Jan : Nobody can have too many hugs in a day so do it a lot. You know, take every advantage to spend time with your family and your loved ones and your friends and be there for them. And sometimes all it takes is a smile and, and just a quick hug around the shoulders to know that you’re in important to someone. Don’t pass those opportunities by.
Richard : Make sure if, if you love ‘em, you tell ‘em you love ‘em.
Interviewer : That’s a great message. A very important message. Um, we talked about, you told me about the community too, um, and how the kids, Cade would have graduated, what they did. Do you want to talk a little bit about that, do you know what I mean, you address it a little bit when you said that the friends, but maybe for these kids that are struggling, if you could talk about the void that they leave also in the community and with their friends.
Jan : Um, well Cade died in the beginning of his sophomore year at, I’m sorry. Cade died at the beginning of his freshman year at Provo High School and um, uh, as the, as the kids his age were getting ready to graduate from high school, the, they did a really sweet thing. They made some buttons up that had his name on and class, his class date and they made uh, brought a flower lei with this button on it over to my home and so I could wear it to their graduation. Um, you know, we love his friends. They have been so sweet to our family. They’ve come by on his birthday. They’ve, they’ve found us at the cemetery on special occasions. They’ve been really an important part of our family and they continue to be and we care about them. And I think that um, you know, I think a community is, is saddened when any of their youth um, choose that as an option. That should never ever be an option. Suicide is not an option. Um, we just need to teach our young people that they can get help. There’s help out there for them and a lot of people in our community that really, really care about that them. We’re especially lucky at Provo High School to have Greg Hudnall, who has headed up this um, effort to, to educate our students and our adults in our community about um, the value of life. And I think that we’ve been really blessed to have him, him take that on. And we want to be a part of it.
Interviewer : For, for um, other places around Utah that maybe don’t have um, the Greg Hudnall, don’t have him there, we talked a little bit about um, what communities can do and what schools are, what they should do to support the kids because there, there maybe high schools that don’t have anything. And I’m wondering if you could just give a little bit of insight as to your recommendations.
Jan : Well, I, I know that Greg Hudnall is more than will, willing to share and wants to share with anyone he can. Um, and he gives information out all the time and answers questions and fields things. I think in every community someone’s been touched by the death of a loved one, so there’s always people that have an interest in this, um, and I think that you just have to make the effort to find that person. There’s probably lots of Greg Hudnall’s out there if someone can discover them.
Richard : Don’t, don’t be afraid to talk about it. Jan and I have gave talks and talked to people and every time somebody’s come up to me after and said, you know, thank you for your talking to us because my son’s struggling or my nephew’s struggling but unfortunately sometimes in society we uh, cover it up. And I still, I don’t cover it up. You need to talk about it. It needs to be out in the open because it’s happening everyday. You open the paper and uh, it’s everyday. And don’t be afraid to talk about it and don’t hide it. Um, it’s just something we need to do. We need to help kids not be afraid, not be ashamed. As parents and as school leaders, uh, to talk about the subject because it’s not, there’s nothing that needs to be hid. It happens everyday.
Interviewer : Did you also want to talk about how the church community can be a help or dispel some of the myths (unintelligible) the church communities?
Jan : Well we, we are really active in our church and we have a lot of faith and we feel like um, we have a lot of support there. And we are going to try and live a productive life and, and show value to Cade’s life by moving forward, doing positive things and serving and doing the things that we can to make our lives productive. Um, we’ll always have this with us, it’s not something that, I hear a lot of people talk about closure. There’s no such thing as closure for me. I’m never going to forget about my son and I’m not going to stop thinking about him. But I want to be productive and move forward. And we, we are very active in our church and try to be of service wherever we can. Hopefully that helps. I know it helps us.
Interviewer : Do you want to add anything to that?
Jan : I don’t know if I liked that, but…
Interviewer : Well I was wondering um….(clock)
Richard : There’s our bells.
Interviewer : I think uh, that’s the one point, talk about, I’m wondering though about this thing um, and since Jake brought this up too about the church community, um, and sometimes there’s this stigma of, of if someone takes their lives, or if someone is struggling, that maybe they don’t pray enough or have faith enough. Do you want to say anything about that at all?
Jan : Well I, I don’t know. I don’t think it’s a matter of being, I don’t think mental health is a matter of being more faithful or being less faithful or you know, it, it doesn’t have, it’s, it’s not that. It’s not because if, you’re not living a good life that you might have a problem with something like that. I think it’s a totally different thing. It’s, it’s like an illness and I don’t think that we can connect it to how good we’re living or how we’re not living good. I don’t know. That’s kind of a, I don’t know if that’s something that, I don’t know if that’s anything I could get into or not. But I know, I, I know, I have a friend whose daughter really struggles because she thinks well if I just pray more or if I just, if I could fast more or if I was, if I was a better person I wouldn’t be depressed. That’s not how depression works. It, it doesn’t mean that you’re not a good person if you’re depressed. It doesn’t mean that you’re not working hard enough or you’re not good enough. It’s not that and you know, it’s not right to think that.
Richard : Depression’s a real disease and we shouldn’t think that it will just go away cause it just doesn’t go away. um, it’s like the flu, eventually after 24 hours, 48 hours that’s going to go away and depression doesn’t go away. And we, like again, like I said we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about that in our schools, in our church and at our jobs even. Uh, we shouldn’t think depressions a bad thing. It’s something that nobody wants but we should deal with it and not try and hide it.
Interviewer : I think you’ve touched on everything that we, we talked about.
Richard : Well I think one thing that Jan wanted to talk out, I don’t know you want to do it, if you want to do this in the program about how Cade was a good kid. And it, that it happens to every form of, I mean every, not form, that’s not a good word. But every, every uh, class of kids and no matter where they’re at but it uh, there’s not a stigma on what happens to kids and who it is. It can be happen to anybody, you know. We talked about Cade, you know, just being a Eagle Scout, just, uh, starting high school. Uh, it doesn’t, there’s no right or wrong. It’s going to happen to anybody and Cade never gave his parents any indication that this was going to happen. There was no note. There was ind, there’s no signs, there’s no nothing until I got a phone call that he was in the hospital. And uh, that’s something that, I think we want to people to know that uh, it can happen to any family, any boy or girl and there’s no stigma attached to it and you need to be careful as parents. Uh, cause you just don’t have, Cade was a great kid. He was the all American kid. He had three brothers and a sister that he loved and they loved him. And uh. He had everything in the world going for him and uh, we’ll never figure this out until we see him again. What’s happenin’ in my heart of hearts this, he did not mean to do this. This was just something that a young fourteen year old boy did out of impulse and uh, there’s no way he tried to do this. And uh, but we need people to know that it’s not attached to certain class of people or the kids that are having trouble at school cause Cade had no trouble at school. Or the kids that are having alcohol problems or drug problems cause Cade had no alcohol or drug problems. But it happens to, it can happen to anybody and it could happen to any family. Like we’ve been, this has been six years on September 10 th. And like I said, we deal with this everyday. You just uh, learn how to function. You don’t, you still deal with it everyday but you learn how to function, learn how to go to work. You learn how to be a grandma and grandpa again cause we just are experiencing that and, and it’s terrible because Cade can’t be an uncle right here, right now. And anyway, we’re just want, it’s really important that people know that it can happen any, to anybody at anytime.
Interviewer : That was a very important message.
Jan : I was goin’ say, I could have shut all the windows in the house. That’s why it’s so noisy, all my windows are open. Sorry.
Interviewer : That’s okay. Is there anything else you want to add? Thank you for that Richard, that was….
Richard : I kind of rambled on, but…
Interviewer : No, I thought it was very well put. Anything Liz that we’ve….
Liz : Um, no actually Richard just touched on the discrimination of, I thought that was really…
Interviewer : Yeah, that was really good. I think unless there’s something you would like to add, I think that’s it.
Jan : Nope.
Interviewer : You were terrific.