HERRIMAN, Utah – If you were to take a step into the workshop of Heidi Swapp, a mix of sawdust and noise would greet you almost instantly.
“This is where all the magic happens,” said Swapp.
Her oldest son works alongside her, providing some support and even some comic relief when needed.
“Ok, go back to work,” she said to her son with a smile.
The workshop is where Swapp comes to create.
“I do love it. I love the possibilities,” she said.
Swapp has always been crafty, whether in the workshop or at her home.
“Photos and stories are super important to me and it brings me joy,” she said.
However, for a few years, she couldn’t bring herself to create anything.
“When Cory passed away, I just couldn’t scrapbook anymore,” she said.
Cory is her second oldest son.
“Cory called me and told me that he loved me and told me goodbye,” she said with tears in her eyes.
Just months after his 16th birthday, Cory died by suicide.
“I was completely shocked,” Swapp said. “I didn’t even know that was tumbling around in his mind.”
She said Cory was seeing a therapist at the time of his death.
“We had met for about an hour and it was a very tender and wonderful conversation,” she said.
About 45 minutes later, Cory was gone.
“The hard thing about suicide is you’re left with questions and it’s not one question, it’s 10,000 questions,” Swapp said. “It’s questions that you will never have answers for.”
Through a podcast called “Light the Fight,” Swapp started talking about the things most families struggle to talk about – mental illness.
Alongside her for each weekly episode is Cory’s therapist.
“Both of us had been in that room and both of us had been trying to help him,” she said.
Now, they help others.
“I believe 100% that if we can shine light and if we can talk about stuff, then we’re in the fight and we can go to work,” she said.
It was what motivated Swapp to go back to work and to create once again.
In a way, Cory is there too. Swapp still wears his favorite Vans shoes when she works.
“Telling his story, talking and laughing and remembering him is a huge part of healing,” she said. “If everything is just kept in the dark then we have nothing to work with.”