A Moline grandmother said she never knew a lot about depression. Then, two years ago a tragedy changed her life forever.  

“We did Boy Scouts, we did boys choir,” Val Rumler said. “I raised him from birth. my daughter had him as a teenage pregnancy.” Angel was more like a son to Val. The two did everything together. 

“He was a big jokester. He loved to make people laugh,” Rumler said. However, around age 12 Rumler noticed her grandson going through some trials. 

“He had a teacher every year that he struggled with that he felt was mistreating him,” Rumler said. “He had an attitude, which all teenagers do. I said ‘I can’t help you if you don’t lose the attitude,'” Rumler said. They tried counseling.

“He had trouble telling people about his problems. So, once he told one person he didn’t want to tell anyone else. So, he just said ‘I don’t want to go,'” Rumler said.  Rumler believes her grandson’s pain stemmed from what he thought was missing. 

“He loved family. He wanted family. He has two sisters. He wanted everybody to live together as family again,” Rumler said.  Angel sank deeper into his depression, but no one would have guessed. 

“Not one teacher thought of him as being depressed, because they hide it so well. They’re the jokesters. They’re the ones that are the most caring, the most giving, but yet the ones that are hurting the most,” Rumler said. “I knew he was strong, I knew he was tough. We had goals. He was going to graduate in six months.” Then in December of 2015 Angel took his own life. 

“Right after Christmas,” Rumler said.  He was 17-years-old. Looking back, Rumler sees the symptoms she didn’t notice before. 

“He had made several threats. Text messages that would say ‘you would be better off without me.’ All my comebacks were ‘don’t say that. Please, you don’t mean it.’ But learning about suicide, those aren’t the answers they want to hear,” Rumler said. Now she knows it was a cry for help. 

“The answer they want to hear is ‘I’ll be there. Where are you? I’m going to come and get you,'” Rumler said.  Now Rulmer is turning her pain into progress. 

“I just want to learn as much as I can about suicide, be in the programs as much as I can with the walks and the struggles people have and talk to people,” Rumler said.  She’s not doing it alone. 

“You need group support to survive, as far as I’m concerend. These people, we help each other,” Rumler said. She attends the the group Al-Anon. It’s geared towards helping people who have a problem drinker in their life, but Rumler said the principles of the support group have been instrumental in helping her cope with Angel’s death.