Audrey Roloff is paying tribute to her close friend, Pastor Jarrid Wilson, following his death at the age of 30. Wilson, a popular megachurch pastor and mental health advocate, died by suicide on Sept. 9 following an open battle with depression and mental illness. On Tuesday, the Little People, Big World alum took to Instagram with an emotional tribute to Wilson in which she recalled the moment she learned of his death and also advocated for mental health.
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“On Ember’s 2nd birthday we found out that our friend Jarrid took his own life. It was shocking and absolutely heartbreaking news. I couldn’t breathe when I found out and sobbed for hours,” Roloff began the emotional post. “Ember saw my tears, ‘Sad mama?’ We sat on the couch together and she kept giving m[e] pats on my shoulder and saying, ‘It’s ok mama, no more crying, happy mama?’ When I kept crying she would wipe away my tears and say, ‘blow mama, blow’ and she would show me how to blow just like I do with her when she’s upset. Cue more tears.”
“Jarrid and his wife Juli have been such faithful encouragers and good friends since before we were married. As we’ve been crying, processing, and praying, we’ve felt all the emotions that come with loss – anger, confusion, hurt, shock, etc,” she continued.
“This past week I just keep thinking about [Juli Wilson]and her two boys and praying in desperation,” Roloff wrote. “Praying that Lord would give those boys peace that surpasses understanding. That Juli would be flooded with prayer, love, encouraging truth, practical help, and compassion. That Jarrid’s life would be honored well. That people who struggle with anxiety, depression, and mental illness would not lose hope. And ultimately, that people who don’t struggle with mental illness would be compassionate.”
Roloff concluded her message on a note about mental health, writing that “mental illness has a lot of stigma around it, unfortunately especially in the church. I think we can be better, especially in times of mourning, to be less critical and more compassionate. To be quicker to love than to judge. To be more like a two-year old comforting her mama.”0comments
Wilson, a pastor at the Harvest Christian Fellowship Church in California, had long been open about his struggles with mental health, founding the Anthem of Hope, a Christian organization dedicated to “amplifying hope for those battling brokenness, depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction and suicide,” in 2016.
His wife confirmed news of his death on Sept. 10, revealing on Instagram that he had passed away at 11:45 p.m. Responding to the post, Roloff had expressed her sorrow, writing that she was “so heart ached” and was “praying so much for you and the boys right now.”