Monday, May 27, 2024

SILENT CORNER | Remembering R.J.

November 13, 2023 by  
Filed under Feature

This is a story about my son. 

Renard Green Jr. 

My name is Renard Green, the father of Renard Jr., or RJ, born March 21, 2008. My son was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia about two weeks after his birth — and from that time, we have battled the physical and mental ailments that come with the disease. 

Sickle Cell Anemia is a blood disease that turns red blood cells into a sickle shape. Those blood cells stop oxygen and nutrients from going to various parts of the body, clogging the veins and creating pain in different extremities. 

During my son’s 2021 and 2022 school years, he developed kyphosis in his lower back — which caused him lots of pain. RJ was bedridden for a year due to his back pain, and we enrolled him in an online home school program. 

We worked hard as a family to strengthen his body for the normal things that a 15-year-old would do — like go to school, play with friends, go on a date, and interact with different environments. 

Renard Green Sr. and his son Renard Green Jr. 

The physical therapy and physical training we practiced in our home turned my son around for the better. He went from bedridden to running around the block at the beginning of the 2023 school year. He was working out in our home gym four to five days a week. On the outside, he looked better and stronger — and was motivated. He looked like he was happy at the progress he was making. 

As a father, I witnessed the war he fought with his body. I can still see the pain in his face and shaking limbs that he demanded to obey his will. We waged a campaign fighting on different fronts. The battle was lost on October 13, 2023. I received a call from my wife that he was gone. He had taken his own life. From that moment, our family has not been the same. 

I found his journal when I looked through his room. A journal that I had asked him to start writing to help with mental stability; to be healthy and positive. I wanted him to use his journal to write self-affirmations. His journal could be used as a gauge to see where he started and track progress as he walked this journey. 

But on the last page of his journal, he states, “My mental health is diminishing and the thing that I am fearful of most is being forgotten.” 

As his father, it is my mission, and my drive to ensure that he is not forgotten. That his story is not forgotten. And that the essence of who he was lives on. 

It is my passion to ensure that no other father or mother does not face the same harsh reality that we faced. Mental health and physical health without spirituality is a building that has no foundation. Breathe life into your children, because they may not have the strength to breathe for themselves. Be enthusiastic and gentle in helping them mold their own character. 

The war could be lost on any front — so fight all fronts that threaten the life of your child. The top killers of Black children are homicide (we kill each other) and suicide (we kill ourselves). Understand this is ongoing — it will continue with or without your knowledge. It will be aggressive, and you will have to be more aggressive, or it will try to consume you with or without your knowledge. 

How many more casualties will we face before your consciousness comes into reality? Be encouraged that we can WIN this WAR! 

The National Suicide Prevention & Crisis Lifeline can be reached at 988 if you need suicide or mental health related crisis support. Or are worried about someone else. 

If you would like to share your own mental health struggle as a means to help others, please email Las Vegas Black Image Magazine’s Silent Corner at: or call 702-615-8216. 

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