TRIGGER WARNING: Mentions of suicidal ideation and a couple uncensored curse words.
When SWAT Operator Timothy Matson took the stand for the second time during the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting trial, he recounted in more detail his injuries and the aftermath he endured afterward throughout his recovery. Part of that included a tough struggle with suicidal ideation.
There was a minnow bucket sitting on his porch, and one day during the struggle with these heavy feelings, he noticed a weed growing in the bucket all by it's lonesome, with no dirt to help it grow, and no support system. Yet there it was, surviving. On the stand he said he thought, "Man, that's one tough fucking weed."
That weed growing in the bucket inspired him to continue on, and still grows on his porch to this day.
The story had me in tears. I have struggled over the years with suicidal ideations, myself. Still to this day, I have coping strategies to deal with it and have regular therapy. Clearly, I haven't had the same struggles as Officer Matson, but I could understand that pain, so it resonated with me. It also resonated with others from the media sitting with me in the courtroom, like my friend Paula Reed Ward from the Trib.
Paula reached out to me later, after court was out for the day, and texted me a rough little sketch of a weed in a bucket with the quote written next to it. I had already felt like I had to draw it somehow, and when she nudged me to illustrate it, I did. I even turned her handwriting into a font for the artwork.
I have a magnet I made from the artwork on my fridge, as a reminder to keep going. Since I've had some requests for them, I've also added the magnets, stickers, and prints in my shop.