Gail Weber of Weyburn has released her first book: Choices, and she'll be doing a book signing this Saturday, October 22nd, at CollabArtive Studios in downtown Weyburn from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
It'll be an opportunity to hear excerpts from the book and take part in discussions about the rather intense subject matter.
Choices is a biographical story about Weber's son Marvin, who took his life in 2002, just one week after his 18th birthday.
"The choices that we make in life, sometimes we can change them, and sometimes we can't. Sometimes they're final," she shared.
While the book's purpose is to caution anyone considering such a drastic decision, to stay around long enough to reach out, to talk to others, and to hold on to hope, Weber said the process of writing Marvin's story for 20 years has helped play a part in her healing.
Cam and Gail Weber raised their three children on a farm 45 minutes from Weyburn, near Huntoon. She said Marvin, their youngest, was a strong-willed child who was going to do what he set his mind to doing.
Marvin didn't, however, display typical traits of a person on the verge of suicide. In fact, she handed him the gun.
"We lived on the farm, and we had coyotes that were coming right up to our door, and so it was nothing for all three of my kids at crazy hours in the morning to go chasing coyotes across the field and shooting them," she explained. "So that's how he got his gun that night, he deceived me by telling me that there was a coyote in the front yard."
She said she also thought he was with his older brother, but he had stayed at a friend's in town. She intimated that she would not have let him have the gun if she had any clue what he was planning.
Losing him this way, she said, left them all with so many unanswered questions.
"God really put this on my heart to write this story, and so I believe it's to help teenagers really think hard about making that final decision in their life," she said. "There's help, so much help out there. And, if they could only open up to their parents because the parents would be right there for them. To this day I don't have that answer of why they don't."
Weber said she felt like she missed the signs, and it took her 15 years to realize that his death wasn't her fault, and nobody will ever know exactly what was going through Marvin's mind on that fateful night, August 10th, 2002.
"I don't want any one of his friends to ever feel guilty and think it was their fault, because it wasn't. This was clearly his choice, whatever was going on in his head that night, and anybody and everybody that knew Marvin knew that when he had his mind made-up. He was a very strong willed boy right from the time he was a baby."
Marvin was at the beginning of his independence, she said, and had even moved out on his own right after graduating that June. He was also expressing to his friends that he wanted to change his life.
While they will all take a lifetime to heal, the family keeps photos of Marvin around, and Cam and Gail's grandchildren know exactly who 'Uncle Marvy' was, from their parents' stories about their little brother.
The Survivors of Suicide group in Regina was a big part of the first 10 years of their healing journey, noted Gail, but she wouldn't wish that membership on anyone.
"Just know that there is help out there. This book is not made for any other reason than to encourage people to get help. Talk to somebody. Call me. I've left numbers in that book for help for people to call."
Weber said she is working on a follow-up book to be able to share more of Marvin's stories. Choices can be found on amazon.com HERE.
She said the U.S. Amazon is the only way to get the book currently, and the price is comparable to the local retail price of $25. Copies can also be purchased at CollabArtive Studios.