Family finds therapy in bow tie creations after son's suicide

David and Lisa Kraus’ son was just 25 years old when he took his own life. Seven years later, their loss is still almost too painful to bare. 

“It's something you don't get over. You have to accept it as God's plan,” David said.

However, they found a way to move gracefully through their pain. About a year after Matthew passed away, their other son, Brent came up with a way to honor his brother with one of his favorite pieces of clothing: bowties. The Kraus’ created Ella Bing, a company specializing in handmade bowties and other male accessories.

“We could’ve let it affect our lives in a negative way or we could take this negative thing that affects so many people and try to spread awareness and get people talking about it,” Brent explained.

The Kraus’ know of the stigma surrounding suicide and want people with depression to know that they don’t have to go through it alone.

“The number one thing is being comfortable and talking to professionals. That is why we do so much work with the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay,” Brent said. “Those trained people can assist and help when people need that assistance.”

Lisa remembered the last time she talked to her son and wished he would have reached out for help.

“I talked to him 30 minutes prior. I called him every day. I worried about him. I wanted to hear his voice,” Lisa said.

Now, she spends her free time making bowties in her sewing room and remembering her son.

“It's very relaxing for me. It soothes me. It's my therapy to get me through this,” said Lisa. 

It has helped David too. He specializes in creating Ella Bing’s wooden neckties.

“I sit out in the garage and sand and cut wood. It’s what I like to do and I have always done it,” he said. “It's our way of giving back and it’s our way of helping ourselves.”

Their goal isn't to make money, it's to raise awareness about suicide risk and prevention. Therefore, they give 10 percent of all sales to the Crisis Center of Tampa. They hope that every bowtie sold leads to a new conversation about suicide.

“I think about it as the pebble dropping in the water and all those little ripples,” Lisa said. “It affects so many people. Please don't think that it's not going to affect anybody because it does.”

***If you, or someone you know, is suffering from depression, or has thoughts of suicide, call 2-1-1. The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay has trained intervention specialists on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential.