“I need look no further than within my own family and the generations that preceded mine, to know of the significant consequences of depression. On Valentine’s Day of 2005 my brother Jeff, my soulmate and best friend, took his own life. I know that Jeff had planned exactly how it was to happen. My Great Uncle on my Mother’s side committed suicide in the identical way, fifty years previously. My Great Grandfather, also on my Mother’s side, committed suicide a generation before that. When one speaks of legacy, suicide is one that I’ve inherited.

One thing that I can say with crystal clarity is that when I had my own children (I have two sons, currently aged 20 and 16) I wondered if one of them might inherit the same disposition as my brother, great uncle and great grandfather. Fast forward a handful of years: in 2011 I was hired to begin producing and filming a short film project for a private school in western Massachusetts, where I was told I was going to meet some guy that was known to be a unique teacher. Less than a week later at our kick-off meeting I met Michael Simonson.

I could go on and talk about all the awesome and positive changes in my life that began to take place upon meeting Michael. What happened was that by the use of simple words, Michael opened my eyes. By speaking to me in a non-judgmental way, I learned why I had been unable to find true joy or love in my life. Michael allowed me to see that completely changing my life was simple.

While there is no such thing as luck in life, I often think how wonderful it is that this Everest-climbing adventure filmmaker guy from New Hampshire got so fortunate as to be able to film and travel with this unique teacher named Michael Simonson. Michael taught me the things that I already had known. Now, I have the ability to create joy, love and true happiness in my life.

Today, I am not only free from sadness of the loss of my wonderful brother, but am now thankful to him for having provided me with the incredible opportunity to learn. In me knowing these things, I can help my sons understand how simple it is to find happiness in life. I’m rewriting the legacy of depression and suicide in a family!

Thank you for taking the time to hear my short story. May you also find the peace and joy of these simple truths that Michael has to share.”


Thom, Jackson, NH


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