“Please don’t take your life,” says grieving mother to others who are thinking about it
- Jeanelle Mandes | September 10, 2020
Cody Jakota Riley Sutherland was an avid hunter, a great father to his six children, and loved helping people, especially Elders.
The Beardy’s and Okemasis Cree Nation man was a believer in cultural ceremonies.
“His passion was hunting. He’d be up at the crack of dawn, out the door by 5 am and spend the whole day hunting,” said his mother, Shelley Sutherland.
“He always believed in giving the animal a fair chance and would offer tobacco and give thanks to the animal for giving up its life. He would just take what he needed and would go around giving the meat to Elders.”
Sutherland was 27 years old when he died by suicide last November 10. It was a heart-shattering moment for Sutherland and her family.
Shelly Sutherland remembers the shock of the call from the police.
“I remember just screaming and screaming,” Shelly said. “I remember swearing at the police. I remember thinking I am dreaming [and that] I just need to wake up. I remember holding my other kids crying…I remember just being in a daze as I had just spoken to him the night before on the phone and then he was gone. Gone for good.”
On World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10, Sutherland wants people to know that there is help out there and to reach out to anyone at all.
“Please don’t take your life. No matter how hard life gets there is always help. Please don’t make your mom and dad, siblings, grandparents, and children feel the way I do,” she said. “There is a hole in my heart forever. A part of me is missing and it hurts so badly. Not a day goes by that I don’t cry.
“Taking your life isn’t taking your hurt away it is being given to us the survivors. I want people to know that they are very loved even if they think they’re not. Life will always get tough and will be full of many mistakes and painful experiences but that’s what makes us who we are. Suicide is not the way out. If you are thinking about it, please get help. Talk to someone, go to the hospital, just fight your way out of that dark place.”
For help, call HealthLine 811, Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868, Mobile Crisis Helpline (306)757-0127, Crisis Suicide Helpline (306) 525-5333 or Hope for Wellness 1-855-242-3310. Chat online at hopeforwellness.ca.
All provide counselling, support, information, and referrals to services.
Shelly Sutherland wants people to know her son had many goals in life. He wanted to be the best father that he could be and to show his children to work hard and never give up. He loved carpentry and had plans to become a hunting guide.
“One time, Cody and his brother Jon left on their bikes with slingshots. Hours later, they returned and Cody had two ducks that he had killed with rocks and slingshot,” she said.
Cody Sutherland’s photo is at the Walking With Our Angels tipi camp at the Saskatchewan Legislature in Regina. The tipi camp is led by Métis advocate Tristan Durocher who is pushing the provincial government to implement suicide prevention legislation.
The Saskatchewan government recognized this day to promote understanding about suicide and support those impacted by a suicide attempt or loss.
“The tragic loss of a person by suicide is felt not only by family and friends but by the entire community,” said Rural and Remote Health Minister Warren Kaeding in a media release. “We want to assure the public that suicide prevention is a priority for the Government of Saskatchewan.”