One year later Richardsons' hearts still heavy
BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
|Daron Richardson, left, with father Luke Richardson. (Facebook)
It is the kind of weekend no family should have to endure.
Senators assistant Luke Richardson, wife Stephanie and daughter Morgan, 17, will have heavy hearts as the one-year anniversary of 14-year-old daughter and sister Daron's suicide passes Sunday.
While time is supposed to heal all wounds, the process is ongoing for the Richardson family and as they deal with another "first" since Daron's death, they're bravely battling through after telling their story publicly.
The Richardsons will be featured on Hockeycentral on Sportsnet Saturday with reporter Christine Simpson. The couple sat down for an emotional talk in the only interview they will give. The past 12 months haven't been easy.
"I wake up and I still think, ‘Oh, I have to make the girls breakfast' or wait for Daron to walk in the door or wait for her to text me and it feels like yesterday," Stephanie, fighting back tears, told Sportsnet in the nine-minute piece.
They aren't sure how they're going to feel when they wake up Sunday and Daron isn't there. Luke said they've been advised by doctors to acknowledge the date, because it's all part of trying to take the next step.
"I'm not so sure I'm looking forward to it," said Luke. "The doctors have said the only way through anything like this is to go right through it. It will be painful, but I've heard many times, that time does heal, but at certain times it doesn't feel like it.
"When the day is over, you realize that it does."
There was an outpouring in the community after Daron died and the Richardson family decided to go public. Not wanting anybody else to have live through this pain, they want to help raise awareness about teen suicide.
The Do it For Daron (D.I.F.D.) campaign, in conjunction with Royal Ottawa Hospital, was born out of this tragedy to encourage teens battling mental health issues to seek help.
Luke said D.I.F.D. is an idea that Daron's friends came up with to keep her memory alive. The family has just tried to lend its guidance with doctors at the Royal Ottawa. So far, the foundation has raised more than $1 million.
The reality is not many would have told their story the way the Richardsons have.
"With us being public, and her friends being so public, it let us know that we all need to have these conversations," said Stephanie. "Just because your child is high achieving or just because your child has a lot of friends, you still need to ask, ‘Are you OK?'
"If you're feeling funny or feeling sad, we can talk about that. That's what D.I.F.D. has done: It has really brought it mainstream and that it's OK to talk about it. I didn't understand how this could happen to an amazing young girl. Nobody ever would have asked someone like Daron if she was OK."
Though they've received plenty of support and Richardson has resumed duties full-time with the Senators, there isn't a day they don't think about Daron, wish she was here and wonder what her future would have been.
"There will be lots of tough times I'm sure," said Luke.