Tragedy inspires professor

TREVA FLORES | STAFF WRITER

Teachers don’t live at school; it’s something we all know, yet sometimes it’s hard to grasp this concept. It can be tough to remember your professor has a life outside of the campus. Some have families, some play mini golf in their spare time, and others may have pet cats and dogs to take care of.It can be tough to remember that our professors have hardships too. They have losses, stress, and obstacles in their path because life is a journey.

Our life is a story and we all turn each page one day at a time.

Gregory Burchett, a biology and health science professor here at Riverside City College wants to tell his story to the world in his book “The Missing links,” that was published Sept. 13.

“I’m a teacher at heart and I absolutely want to help other people, whether or not they’ve had an experience like mine I think that people will relate to my book,” said Burchett.

Four years ago in Feb. 2009 Burchett’s former wife Lori Burchett had stabbed their 17-month-old son, Garrison, resulting in his death.

Immediately afterward Burchett began writing down his thoughts, feelings and emotions in the following days. “When everything happened, I wrote down what I did not want to forget. It had a lot of anger and I used it for years, but never read it,” said Burchett.

The thought of creating a book from these thoughts, let alone sharing them with other people such as family and friends had not even occurred to him at the time.

Over 4,000 words later and with the encouragement of family Burchett had a story worth telling. “I researched other books about this topic and noticed that there were a lot of books from the woman’s perspective as she’s sitting in jail and writing about why she did it, but there were none from the man’s perspective,” Burchett said.

As a teacher at heart Burchett realized he had to help, to make people say, “I can relate to that.” He stated, “Of course there will be curious people who just want to be nosy, but every person will have their own journey throughout the book.”

It took a while for Burchett to understand what he was thinking; he hadn’t really read anything through until three years after the loss of his son. Now he isn’t just a professor at RCC, but a motivational speaker and an author.

Many people don’t know about “Baby Blues Depression,” officially known as Postpartum Depression, yet 50% of women have it. This depression comes after having a baby and it’s not rare for the woman to not feel attached to her child.

Many of the women with the depression think these feelings are normal, but they can lead to psychiatric disorders, anxiety, or in the extreme cases what happened to Burchett’s family.

“The more people are informed and not in denial about the topic, the more we can help,” said Burchett, “I want to try to break the taboo to talk about it.”
Burchett remains optimistic towards the future, wanting to teach others, and help benefit the world. He really wants to maintain a nurturing and loving home for Gregory Burchett Jr. his surviving son who is now eight-years-old.

He plans to speak at a mental health workshop Nov. 14, have book signings, and return to the Dr. Phil show for a second episode.

He is also considering writing fiction novels in the future, but plans to keep his teaching position at RCC, which makes him all the more inspiring.