About a boy: See you on the other side my sweet Cole Austin

June 4, 2015

“If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.” — Saya Nelson

Cole, learning to ride a four-wheeler in the mountains of New Mexico.

My precious nephew Christopher Cole Austin died Sunday, May 31, 2015, in a Lubbock hospital. He was 15 and he was perfect.

From the moment he was born, Cole captivated everyone who met him. A beautiful, happy, round baby, Cole was always smiling and laughing and loving. His best friend was his sweet Golden Retriever, Rusty. Cole grew into a beautiful young man, brilliant and funny, still giving his heart completely to the menagerie of animals that trooped through his life. Gracie, Kuma, Reese, Soldier Waffles, Toby Cheese – even the feral Mr. Boogers – they knew that special love that can only come from a child.

His inquisitive mind, fearless nature and adventurous spirit led him outdoors. You could often find him in the pool or on a sled, skateboard or four-wheeler. He dreamed of learning to surf, and his agility and strength served him well when he visited the aquashop in Plano for his first lessons. He inherited his mother’s love of playing practical jokes, and was known to hack cell phones and to leap into picture frames unexpectedly. He enjoyed reading, playing games of all kinds and telling mildly inappropriate jokes. He was sarcastic and witty, and he had the kind of hair that would make even Justin Bieber jealous. He was gifted and compassionate, and so very loved. His little cousins cherished him and he never tired of playing with them. He had this amazing way of making the people he was with feel … special. If he ever looked at you, intently, and held you there with him in that moment, you know exactly what I mean. He wanted his people to know they mattered to him.

Cole with his father, Jon Austin, at a swim meet with the Midland Freshman High swim team.

We will never know why Cole took his own life. His potential was limitless. He possessed a brilliant mind, and I loved watching the way he saw things around him. While other babies learn circle and square, my nephew dazzled me with the rhombus, tetrahedron, trapezoid and octopus. He was gorgeous, and I’m not just saying that because he was mine. He was a perfect combination of his father and mother, tall and lean with feet his momma jokingly described once as “flippers.” He excelled as a competitive swimmer and loved being part of the Midland Freshman High School swim team. So if there were signs that this beautiful boy who literally had the world in his hands was suicidal, we all missed them.

Something so right about a boy and his dog.

Though he was growing up, he was still young and impetuous. This one flitting thought — that his life was not worth living, or that we would be better off without him — has changed us forever. According to the World Health Organization, suicide is the third leading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-44 years. Our own little community has not been immune, experiencing several teen suicides over the last three years, all inexplicable. Good kids from families that loved them. We all need to learn to be proactive. Parents, please talk to your kids. Tell them you love them and that their lives matter, that there is always a tomorrow and there is a huge beautiful life after high school. And I know that is hard to convey. The hormones, boundary-testing, big feelings and drama that is teen-agerhood is hard to see past. Learn the warning signs of depression and of suicide. Let your children know that is OK to hurt and don’t judge them. Just get them the help they need. Let your kids and their friends know that you are a safe harbor, they can come to you any time with anything. And tell your kids that if they think a friend is considering harming himself, to please tell someone. Kuddos to Midland ISD for offering grief support through Midland Freshman High School.

We take comfort knowing that Cole no longer hurts, and that he is reunited with Rusty. Our sweet boy did not die in vain. As an organ donor, he will help almost 200 people continue with their own lives

Cole with his beautiful mother, Rachel.

We are especially grateful to Midland and the West Texas community, and to the thousands who prayed for Cole across the world. The continued outpouring of resources, prayer, meals and grace has been beautiful and overwhelming, and we cannot thank you enough. In the touching words of his friend Saya Nelson, “Cole, if love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.”

See Saya’s video with Cole here. He has grabbed her cellphone and was taking picture after picture. You can see his little smile and her realization that this was all being caught in pixels. She wasn’t getting her phone back any time soon! I have found this video and her story so comforting this week. Please say an extra prayer for Cole’s sweet friends, they lost him, too.

By admin


  1. Reply

    Christopher Zapatka

    Dear, Austin family
    I am Chris Zapatka, Right now I am 13 I have high doubts anyone will remember me cause in 3rd grade I moved to oklahoma. Zane, Sawyer,Cole, and I always us to play Mario kart together in the weekends and it was sad knowing he died and I have all prayers going out to the family and friends because his death still mourns on me and is hard knowing my best childhood friend is dead.I hope you revive this.If anyone can have Zane or Sawyer Contact me it would make be my world of honors.

    1. Reply


      Thank you!! I have sent this to the boys’ mom 🙂 Blessings!

  2. Reply


    He was an amazing person. He helped me in ways. I met him over Instagram. He was a great friend. He wasn’t judgement all or mean like other people. He waS a really different person and I like him because of that.

    1. Reply


      Thank you Julian. Saw a boy with hair like his last night, and have been missing him much today 🙂

  3. Reply

    hailey Arnold

    He was my friend and I loved him dearly and he was amazing I will always think of him

    1. Reply


      Than you so much! I have been really missing him today, so this was wonderful to see. Hugs!

  4. Reply


    I’m so sorry for your family. My nephew took his own life in 2011. It was the day after his 19th birthday. It was the most painful thing ever! It breaks my heart when I hear of other families suffering in this way.

    1. Reply


      Hugs, sister! Thank you for sharing. I still haven’t quite figured out why life keeps going on around me when I still feel frozen.

  5. Reply


    Absolutely heartbreaking! Such a handsome boy. Prayers for his family and friends.

    1. Reply


      Thank you 🙂

  6. Reply

    Amy Elkins

    Oh Jon ,Rachel and family my heart breaks for you. I pray for healing and peace for all of you. I pray for sweet memories to take the edge off of the pain. Even just a little. I love y’all. Amy

    1. Reply


      We have so many good ones, don’t we??? Thank you!!

  7. Reply


    Awesome words. Thank you for bearing your heart.

    1. Reply


      Thank you!!

  8. Reply


    Beautiful blog post! I know Rachel through work and my heart aches for her and all of you who knew Cole so well. And as a mother, I am terrified of this issue, I pray that we all talk to our kids…and all kids…so that another family doesn’t have to deal with this. Thank you for discussing a very important issue amidst your pain. I have been and will continue to pray for comfort.

    1. Reply


      thank you so much, she is just an amazing woman! we appreciate your prayers so much!

  9. Reply

    Ann Sosa

    Cole was a friend of my daughter I have just recently learned this week he had helped her in many areas this school year and I wasn’t even aware of it!!! He was so loved by all of his friends & classmates! All of our hearts are just broken!! His life was so worth living but he is in the hands of Jesus now!!! Please continute to pray for his family friends & classmates & also his teachers he will be so missed!!!

    1. Reply


      Ann, thank you. He was and is a wonderful boy. I am so glad he was a god friend to your little girl! Prayers for her as well it is hard to lose a friend, too 🙂

  10. Reply


    i was suicidal as a teenager… I cut myself and did drugs and self medicated my broken heart. I have three teenagers who have all been going through depression and had suicidal thoughts and tentacles. Cole would come to my house and hang out with my oldest boy.. They are so much alike.. It’s surreal. My youngest son (stepson) has tried to take his own life more than once. He ended up having to get therapeutic help because everything we tried didn’t work. My oldest is my daughter (fourth child is our toddler) she has had trouble as well. I can only say that from my path I went down I can counsel all of them.. Does it work.. Sometimes. We try everything. When they’re upset I sit with them. No words need to be said. I do that so I know they won’t hurt themselves.
    I can’t say what works for teenagers and what doesn’t.. All I can say is I know heartache and I know defeat. I know how it feels to be hopeless but yet pretending I’m fine. I see their signs when they’ve had a bad day at school because frankly people can just be such bullies. As a community we have to show our kids how to see that new day that’s tomorrow. As parents we have to let our faith be bigger than our fear. Teaching our kids or even lost adults the healthy coping skills they need. I look at my scars that are engraved on my arms and I remember that I was once broken but now I’m not. God saved me.

    1. Reply


      I replied this morning, but my comments disappeared. Sorry! Thank you for sharing this with me, I got so much comfort from your words, ‘ we have to let our faith be bigger than our fear ‘ It is so terrifying. Prayers for you and your children, I think you must be a pretty awesome mom 🙂

  11. Reply

    Jeannie Morrison

    What a lovely story about your nephew. I know he will be missed by so many. Prayers to you all my friend

    1. Reply


      Hugs!! Thank you so much, love you!

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