Loves her roles as wife, mother, singer, actor, director, speaker, and writer. Her favorite people on earth are her husband, Brian, and her two living children, Tyler and Kalina. It is her heart’s desire to shine a light of hope into the lives of those who grieve, especially parents who have lost children to suicide . . . Read more
Empty Shoes by the Door: Living After my Son’s Suicide
Grief demands we stand face-to-face with it and admit the messy truth of our brokenness.
On the afternoon of December 23, 2011, Judi Merriam’s eighteen-year-old son, Jenson, took his own life-an act that blindsided everyone who knew him-changing her life and those of her family forever.
This is the story of Jenson’s life and death-and of Judi’s path to surviving without the physical presence of the kind, intelligent, and endlessly creative young man she never imagined she would outlive.
The suicide of a loved one can be devastating for those left behind and bring deep despair and seemingly endless grief. Judi was forced to confront profound feelings of loss and guilt and a future so very different from what she thought it would be. In this honest and soul-searching memoir, Judi reflects with grace and courage on the fragile and amazing, terrifying and broken, and glorious and painful experience of living life after an unfathomable loss.
Jenson E. Merriam
Jenson Merriam, 18, took his own life on Friday, December 23, 2011 at his home. He was born November 5, 1993, grew up in Schenectady, graduated from homeschooling through Schenectady L.E.A.H. and was enrolled in College Plus pursuing a BA in English with plans to attend graduate school for film and animation in two years. Jenson loved God, knew Jesus as his Savior, and was the kindest, sweetest, gentlest, most cheerful young man in our world. His sense of humor was amazing, and he gave us numerous hours of entertainment and laughter with his jokes, quick wit, and pranks. Jenson loved to write and produce films and animation. He was a gifted illustrator. Some of his favorite things to do were to read, write, draw, watch movies, work at his computer, build objects for his film making endeavors, listen to music, go to used bookstores, sit in his family’s cabin in the Adirondacks, collect Moon Goons, and spend time with his friends and family. No one could ask for a better friend than Jenson. He was the most encouraging, loving and sacrificial friend with whom anyone could be blessed. He cared for his family and friends to a fault, and would never think to hurt anyone. We cannot think of one person who ever spoke ill of Jenson. We know, he is now resting safely in the arms of Jesus.
“‘Empty Shoes by the Door’: Local woman writes book about coping with grief following son’s suicide at age 18” – by Indiana Nash
“Interview with Schenectady Author Judi Merriam” with Doug Goudie
“In an honest and soul-searching memoir, Empty Shoes by the Door, Judi Merriam reflects with grace and courage on the fragile and amazing, terrifying and broken, glorious and painful experience of living life after an unfathomable loss.” – Irish American Heritage Museum
“Recently, I had the privilege of meeting local author Judi Merriam…” -Article written by Casey Mulligan Walsh
“Congrats to Mohawk River Valley author Judi Merriam on the publication of her memoir, Empty Shoes by the Door.” -Post written by the Adirondack Center for Writing
Voices of Experience: Living After My Son’s Suicide
Living After My Son’s Suicide – Guest Post by Judi Merriam
Grace with Judi Merriam
“Episode one hundred eighty-two of Above Ground Podcast this week deals with suicide and grief.”