"I saw my son dead. That's something in my head," the mother recalled.
Trigger warning: The story contains details of suicide that might be distressing to some readers.
His parents would tell him that things would change. But 10-year-old Seven Bridges could no longer stand the effects of being bullied and took his own life when he was left alone at home.
Seven was a miracle baby, the only child born to Tami Charles and Donnie Bridges. Tami was told she would never have children, but in 2008, their lives changed after they welcomed Seven.
Unfortunately, a decade was all that they could share with him before Tami came home one day to find his hanging body. The Kentucky boy died by suicide while his mother made a quick run to the grocery store and his father was attending church choir practice.
"I saw my son dead. That's something in my head," the mother told WHAS11.
"For the few minutes that we left, he didn't want us to see that," said his father, Donnie Bridges.
For years, Seven was the victim of bullying in school and was made fun of for having to use a colostomy bag. He has had several surgeries throughout his chilldood and had to use a colostomy bag, which was enough for classmates to bully and torment him.
"Twenty-six surgeries from the day my son was born," his mother said. "Twenty-six surgeries. He just wanted to be normal, that's all."
On one occasion, Seven was called a racial slur and was choked in his school bus.
"I still can't get him choking me out of my head," the scarred boy said after the incident.
Despite being harassed, Seven never raised his hand against his bullies. "All he did was pray for the boy," Tami told WDRB.com.
"He couldn’t fight back," the mother added. "He didn’t know how to hurt you. He had no malice, none, and I’m just looking at him like, ‘Are you even my child?’ Because I would’ve gave that little kid a two-piece and a biscuit."
After the choking incident, Tami felt things had gone too far. So she approached the Kerrick Elementary and Jefferson County Public Schools to take action. But this only made Seven's bullies torment the boy even more.
"Because I was so aggressive in advocating for him, they started to act differently toward him," Tami said.
In the days that led up to Seven's death, his parents not once suspected that he had suicidal thoughts.
"We kept telling him this will all be over," said Tami, hoping that things would change when Seven entered the sixth grade. However, the boy ended his life in 2019 before the new school year began.
Since Seven's death, his mother has been fighting for schools to take better action against bullying. Along with demanding for change, Tami spoke to WLKY and said that she has one message for the her son's bullies, the same kids that Seven would pray for.
"Forgive yourself," Tami said. "Seven did. He forgave you already. He found his peace; it's time for you to find yours."
If you or someone you know shows signs of suicidal thoughts, please reach out to 1-800-273-8255 (NCPL) or suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Cover image source: GoFundMe