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Ardmore family to hold suicide prevention walk after losing son earlier this year

Sierra Rains
srains@ardmoreite.com
A memorial photo of Joshua Densmore provided by his family.

On the night of June 1, the Densmore family told their son, Joshua, that they loved him and they’d see him in the morning. But the morning never came. 

“God said in the Bible, he said he promised us a today, he never promised us a tomorrow. That’s what it was like that night when we went to bed,” said Paul Densmore, Joshua’s father. 

Four months have passed since the Densmore family lost their 28-year-old son, Joshua Michael Densmore, to suicide. The family has since been trying to heal from the tragedy, and is hoping to raise awareness about suicide in order to help save lives.

As a result, the family has created an organization called SW Oklahoma Suicide Awareness and Prevention, and on Oct. 3 the public is invited to join the Densmore family and others for a march at Ardmore’s Regional Park, located at 2704 North Rockford Road. 

The group will begin gathering at a pavilion by the lake, towards the back of the park, at around 10 a.m. and will start walking at 1 p.m. Densmore said they will walk from the pavilion to the main parking lot across from The Clubhouse and make a loop back to the pavilion. Individuals are invited to bring a food item of their choice for afterwards. 

The march has been titled “Josh’s March, Your Story Will Never End,” in honor of their son. Densmore said he wants to normalize talking about suicide, and help support other families and individuals that have lost a loved one or friend to suicide. 

“It’s a horrible thing and people think it’s to be ashamed of. We’ve been taught not to talk about it to people in public, to strangers, to friends, or even close friends,” Densmore said. “How are we going to stop it if we don’t talk about it? It’s got to be talked about. The awareness has to be raised and it is time.” 

Close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds, according to the World Health Organization. “We’ve got too many people picking up a bottle of pills, we’ve got too many people picking up a knife, we’ve got too many people picking up a gun and thinking this is the answer,” Densmore said. 

After losing a loved one to suicide, it’s easy for people to run through a set of questions that don’t have any answers, Densmore said. “You ask yourself what more could I have done? What more could I have said? What could I have done differently? What couldn’t I have said?”

For the Densmore family, the pain has not subsided. They created the SW Oklahoma Suicide Awareness and Prevention organization to help others that might be going through similar situations, and those who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts. 

Anyone can reach out to the organization on Facebook to talk or simply just vent. “We formed this organization to say we care,” Densmore said. 

Densmore, his wife, and his wife’s family all worked tirelessly for the past two weeks to put the march together, but the march is not about him or his family. Densmore said he wants the focus to be on his son and honoring his memory. 

Other individuals are also invited to share their stories at the march to help raise awareness and can send in photos along with the name, birthdate and passing date of their loved one to the SW Oklahoma Suicide Awareness and Prevention group on Facebook. 

The Bikers for Christ will be attending the march, along with the five or six first responders who were there the night Joshua Densmore passed away. Densmore said he hopes to continue marching in the upcoming months and individuals can reach out to the Facebook group to have a march organized in their town. 

“This is a way of showing solidarity. We’ve got to put an end to it,” Densmore said. “This is to raise awareness of suicide and this march is for our son, Joshua Michael Densmore, born in 1992 and passed from this world June 1, 2020.”

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7 free and confidential support for people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. The hotline number is 1-800-273-8255.