Millions of people across the United States recognize Delilah’s voice.
Over the last 40 years, the radio show host has become a staple in the lives of many, using her soothing voice and her years of wisdom to help people get through life’s many hardships.
Now, the mom is opening up about her son’s life and how she’s dealt with the loss in a new book called “One Heart At A Time.”
When asked by ABC 7 reporter Kidd O’Shea how she is doing today, the host responded:
“Today, I am well. Today, I am well. That can change any minute. It’s hour by hour, it’s not day by day, it’s hour by hour. But, so far today, I haven’t had a complete breakdown.”
Delilah admitted that talking about her new book and her son’s passing has been hard, but it’s something she wants and needs to discuss publicly.
She called suicide an epidemic, adding that it’s something everyone needs to talk about, including schools.
Delilah then got into the “series of unfortunate events” that she believes led to her son’s depression and ultimately his suicide:
“So Zack when through a series of unfortunate events, and I talk about this in the book, he wrecked his car, he lost a girlfriend. It was stuff that would cause anybody heartache and angst, but it was in a very compressed amount of time. And he left home. He had lived with me his whole life and his senior year, he decided to move in with his father. He wanted to have a relationship with his dad and didn’t really consider the fact that, like me, he is very relationship oriented and he had the best friends in the universe.”
The mom described that group of friends her son saw and interacted with every single day as “amazing young people.”
Delilah said her son wasn’t a partier, and there wasn’t a time in his life that she ever had to question where her son was or what he was doing. He was always either at her house, at his father’s house or with his best friend, Michael.
But when things began to unravel for Zack, he fell into a depression. However, it was something he was very forthcoming about, Delilah told ABC 7.
So Delilah and Zack’s father came up with a plan and set their son up with a doctor and a counselor to help him navigate through how he was feeling. The mom admitted that she thought they were doing all of the right things, but there was something she wasn’t seeing:
“We really thought that we were doing all of the right things, not realizing that the medication that he was taking, which is the go-to meds for young people, 47-percent of the time, based on the drug’s company’s own research, causing higher elevated suicidal tendencies, elevated homicidal tendencies and delusions. And unfortunately, it caused my son to be very delusional.”
She acknowledged that as a mom, she was so worried about getting her son the help she thought he needed, that she didn’t realize she wasn’t properly educated on what her son was going through, or the medication he was taking.
Delilah said she would have never known about the drug Zack was prescribed if it wasn’t for the coroner who examined Zack after his death.
The coroner told Delilah:
“This is the third kid, in three months, on this particular medication that chose the same, not just to die, but the same way to die.”
All that was required of the drug company was a little “black box warning” on the very first prescription Zack received, but because Zack was 18 years of age, Delilah never saw the warning, nor was she ever verbally told about the drug’s possible side effects.
Delilah told ABC 7 that while Zack was on the medication, he started talking about things he never discussed with her before. As a result, she called his team of doctors twice to alert them, but she never heard back.
The radio host described her son in the same way her sister described her years ago, “a champion of the misfits.”
She said after her son’s death, his group of friends told her story after story of how supportive he was of them and how obvious his love for them was.
And that’s what Delilah loved most about her son.
Despite it being a year since his unexpected passing, Delilah admits she still has Zack’s working cell phone with her, and it’s something she still calls every day:
“I love his voice. I have videos that I watch too, every night. I miss him.”
According to The Jason Foundation, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 24:
More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, combined. Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 3,041 attempts by young people grades 9-12.
Delilah revealed in an interview with People last year:
“His goodbye note did not mention sadness, anger, angst or depression, just a pressing madness about feeling like this world was not his home.”
If you or someone you know is battling depression or thoughts of suicide, please call the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.