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'We Never Knew We Were Giving Him a Poison': Delilah on Her Son's Suicide and How Prayers Got Her Through

Delilah Rene
Delilah Rene
A year after her son's death, popular radio host Delilah Rene is opening up about the tragedy that unfolded when Zachariah took his own life – and how she got through it.
Last year, Delilah told People Magazine her son's depression spiraled after a December 2016 car accident, a painful breakup, an illness and then falling behind in school.
The long-time radio personality took a leave of absence from her show following his death but is back in the spotlight as she promotes her new book, One Heart at a Time.
Delilah said for a long time she struggled with writer's block but gained the strength and energy to write after publishers approached her sister.
"And she said, 'I'll help. You know, I'll step in and help,' and I'm like, 'Oh, no, no, no, no. Nobody's telling Zack's story but me,'" Delilah said on ABC's Good Morning America.
While the book doesn't completely focus on her son's death, Delilah says she wants parents to know about teenage suicide and that the topic can't be ignored.
"We need to start having open conversations as painful as they are because it's epidemic," she said.
In an interview with CBS, Delilah said that despite his depression, her son was still making plans for the future in the days leading up to his suicide.
She said it was just 10 days earlier that he stopped taking his anti-depressants and told his friends "the side effects are killing me."
"I know it was the medication," Delilah said. "He left a 9-page letter and there was no mention of sorrow, no mention of loneliness, or sadness... it was insane ramblings. It was the writings of a crazy person."
She later added, "I found out that the medicine that they'd been giving him... the drug makers know that in people under 25 years old, 47 percent of the time it causes more suicidal ideas."
Delilah wouldn't name the medication but urged parents to investigate and research the prescriptions their children are given.
"We never knew we were giving him a poison," she said. "We thought we were helping."
Through all of this though, Delilah went on to say that while it has been hard, she's still "the most blessed person I know."
"I would not be standing if it weren't for the prayers of my friends, my family, and my listeners," Delilah said.
She added, "So many listeners sent the most beautiful thoughts and prayers and shared their own stories of loss ... and grief, and what helped them get through."
Delilah is the mother of 13 children, 10 of whom she adopted. She previously lost another son, 16-year-old Sammy, to complications from sickle cell anemia in 2012.
She spoke with CBN's The 700 Club in 2012 about her spiritual journey saying "my faith in God is so important to me and gives me so much joy and hope."

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