The lie depression told Alex Jamieson was that he was alone in this world.
His funeral proved otherwise.
“The night of the service, the doorman told us he lost track of over 1,200 people that had gone through the door,” said Jamie Jamieson, Alex’s older brother. “It went down blocks of the green. It was unbelievable. Unbelievable.”
Alex died by suicide on May 1, 2019, at 22 years old after battling depression and bullying.
The Milford musician and skateboarder played local punk bands The Cover-Ups and The Influence, and could often be found at the local skate park helping younger athletes hone their skills.
Today, that skate park next to Washington Field is a lasting tribute after more than 3,000 people petitioned to have it renamed for him.
“This park is where I feel like I connect with him,” said Jamie.
In the months following his little brother’s death, Jamie - a lifesaver by trade as a captain with the Gales Ferry Fire Department – felt compelled to turn his heartbreak into healing for others. He turned to Steve Gourdier, a local musician and mentor to Alex as a child.
“After Alex had passed, we talked about doing something where he could help other kids and people that were struggling through music and skateboarding,” said Gourdier.
In August 2019, the two officially founded Alex Jordan Jamieson Foundation, a nonprofit providing musical instruments and lessons to individuals at risk for or struggling with mental health battles.
“It seemed like music was a way to reach people and let them see some self worth,” said Jaime, “because that was the one place where Alex felt worthy. Where he could see through his depression.”
Sixteen-year-old Kaden, of Milford, recently started taking guitar lessons with Gourdier, who volunteers as an instructor.
“My friends always say like, they don't want to talk to a therapist because you know, it's someone who's just getting paid to listen to your stuff. But I feel like this is a lot more better, and learning something is a lot more exciting,” he said.
After struggling through the grief of losing his father, student Joe Leck, 30, said he’s discovered a new outlet through original songwriting.
“There was just something missing before I found the guitar,” Leck said. “Whenever I'm feeling anxious or stressed, if I have my guitar handy, I just pick it up and start strumming.”
Saving lives with a song: It’s a fitting tribute to Alex, who wrote on Instagram months before his death, “If I could do one thing in life, it would be to help anyone who feels this low, and get them to feel loved and supported…. I’m better now.”
“I hope Alex knows now that he wasn't alone, that he did. He was loved. That he is loved. That he was a lot more than he saw himself as,” Jamie said. “I hope he's better now.”
Alex Jamieson was one of 426 Connecticut residents who died by suicide in 2019. 45 of them were between the ages of 10 and 24.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out for help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
The Alex Jordan Jamieson Foundation is currently accepting new students and welcomes donations of instruments, instruction and monetary support. To learn more visit www.ajjfoundation.org.
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