Cadillac Mother Uses Art to Combat Grief, Spread Suicide Awareness

Lori Yazbeck loves to paint. She always has.

But today her art has become even more important to her after her son took his own life.

“He was such a good kid such a good kid, I just miss him, he was such an important part of our lives,” she says. “I feel like I died with him.”

Lori lost Daniel on August 9, 2018, and with it the motivation to do anything, including paint.

“Its been a rough road, a very rough road, I was in a very dark place,” she says. “I know those thoughts of suicide…you know when he’s gone, it’s just you live with this guilt. I was his mom.”

But after so many sleepless nights, Lori picked up her passion again and hasn’t stopped since.

“I’ve been an artist practically my whole life, self-taught…taught acrylics for seven years but always wanted to do oils.” she says. “It’s therapy, and the only time my mind will shut off.”

Now, she’s using her work to help others.

“I want to use my painting to bring suicide awareness out,” Lori says. “We started Tears From Daniel and we are staring a support group called Mothers Left Behind. Heidi’s going to be helping me with this, she lost her son two weeks after my son. Her son and my son, they brought us together and we have a mission.”

Lori and another mother, Heidi, hope to bring suicide out of the shadows and spotlight the need for more mental health care.

“I want to bring suicide awareness out to the communities,” she says. “I don’t want another mother to feel like I’m feeling and I don’t want brothers and sisters, fathers, aunts and uncles and grandparents to feel this. It shouldn’t be happening, it’s an epidemic.”

For the month of February, much of Lori’s work will be on display at Brinks Art & Frame Shop in downtown Cadillac.

For every piece that sells, part of the proceeds will go toward their growing organization  which right now, is mostly spreading through Facebook.

“We’ve reached 5,442 people since the 15th even one from Australia, so it’s growing and it’s growing fast,” she says. “And a lot of people have reached out, so that’s encouraging. They want to stop this from happening.”

The women have big dreams, from a storefront to a youth center, but right now it’s all about spreading the word.

“It can happen to anybody,” Lori says. “You think your child is doing OK, and sometimes there’s warning signs, and sometimes there’s not warning signs, you know. Just talk to your children, just be involved in their lives. Danny was a big part of our family and we didn’t’ see that coming. We need more mental health things, more avenues for these kids to get help.”

And for Lori, this push is help for her as well. A way to take the grief, despair and confusion—put it on canvas—and know that it could help save a life.

“I don’t want his death to go in vain, I have his memory because he helped so many people and he’s going to continue to help so many people,” she says. “He would have wanted this, and he was so proud of me and my art, so I think he would have wanted this.”

For more information on Tears From Daniel, visit the Facebook page here.

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