PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — When it comes to her 28-year-old son, Maryanne Murphy describes Scott as “amazing”.
“He’s one of my best friends,” Murphy tells FOX 4.
She describes the mother-and-son bond between her and Scott Anthony Geiser as one of a kind.
That bond strengthened within the last year, she says, as she faced a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
During that time, the Port Charlotte mom called Scott her “biggest cheerleader”.
But while cheering for his mom, working and enjoying hobbies like fishing, Scott Geiser was fighting an internal battle.
“He struggled the last seven years. We found out that he has schizoaffective disorder and he was Baker Acted many times,“ she says.
Schizoaffective disorder is a chronic mental health condition. It’s characterized mostly by symptoms of schizophrenia. That includes hallucinations or delusions, and symptoms of a mood disorder - such as mania and depression.
Murphy says Geiser would share with her that he’d hear voices in his head. He’d also experience paranoia and believe that people were out to get him.
This past April, she says Geiser’s friend called to say he could not reach him and neither could her son’s girlfriend - a moment Murphy says changed her life.
“And I knew. You know you get that gut feeling as a mom.”
She says she went to his house.
Unable to find him, she decided to wait for him to return - believing he might have gone for a walk.
While waiting, she says she decided to search for a chair of which she’d planned to take back to her home.
She went into Geiser’s guest room. She says he constantly kept the door to that room closed.
“And when I opened up the door…that’s when I found him.”
Sadly, Scott Geiser had taken his own life.
“It’s something I’ll never be able to forget or get past.”
Murphy says every day is a struggle to cope.
But, she hoping to use her tragedy to provide support and to fight stigmas.
“The act of suicide is the furthest thing from a selfish act. It’s their way of stopping their pain. It’s just so much pain, and they feel at that moment they have no way out.”
The pain her son felt, coupled with her own hurt, now drives Murphy to spearhead a support group in Port Charlotte for others who have lost a child to suicide.
“It’s a lot of “why” and you never get those answers. Every parent whose child has committed suicide… you’re always going to look for those why’s. There is no why.”
While there’s no definite answer to that question, Murphy tells FOX 4 she hopes to be a solution to other parents by providing a safe place of grief and support - especially ahead of the holiday season.
If you’d like to join the support group, you can email Maryanne Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org