STRAWBERRY PLAINS, Tenn. — Dozens of people filled The Stables at Strawberry Creek on Sunday in honor of Bethany Lawson, who took her own life back in August 2018.
"We had no idea anything was wrong, we're still searching for answers," Bethany's mother, Melissa Lawson, said.
Bethany was 16 years old at the time. Her mother said she was quiet but kind and passionate about giving back to people and animals in need.
"Bethany made very good grades, she was popular among her peers, very active in church, very active in the community and socially," Melissa said. "She loved working with Click for a Cause and Faith N Friends Horse Rescue Sanctuary."
Both organizations joined forces for a photo shoot in Bethany's memory. Lawson said some of her friends drove down to East Tennessee to participate. The Lawsons are originally from Kentucky.
"Bethany was beautiful number one, number two she wasn't only beautiful she was beautiful on the inside," Faith N Friends founder Faith Sadiku said. "She was very, very talented with horses, just a natural."
During lunch, a representative from the Helen Ross McNabb Center came by to speak to the group about signs of suicide and ways families can be supportive and helpful to those going through a difficult time.
The event also raised over $900 for Faith N Friends in Bethany's honor.
She also made a point to make sure each person had a card with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on it.
Melissa said although these few months have been hard, she plans to dedicate her time to helping other families who have felt the same kind of pain.
"This was a really hard day for me," Melissa said. "When she left, she took a piece that we may never get back, but we will remember her forever no matter what."
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a nationwide network of crisis centers that specialize in providing confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. The number is 1-800-273-TALK, and counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can also be contacted via text.