Former Major League Baseball pitcher John Trautwein talks about the Will to Live Foundation in an interview with Screening for Mental Health. The foundation was started by Trautwein and his wife, Suzie, in memory of their son Will, after the 15-year-old died by suicide.
If our Will can complete suicide, if our Will can be depressed, if our Will can have mental illness, then any kid we've ever met can as well ... The "it can't happen here" syndrome should not and does not exist. Therefore, we have to talk, we have to listen, and we have to love.Canada's National Post features an excerpt from Lynn Keane's forthcoming memoir, in which she recounts the day her 23-year-old son died by suicide:
The real world's response to a suicide is to try and be supportive of those who are dealing first-hand with loss. But the real world goes on in spite of your tragedy. Meanwhile, we the newly bereaved, remain stuck in the moment that our world changed. And we aren't always able to reach out for help. What we need we can't have.
Some call it a selfish act, without consideration of the anguish caused for those left behind who loved them and will forever miss them. I lean toward the notion that the individual's depression or misery is so overwhelming that their thoughts are light-years away from those left behind. Maybe the flickering candle of hope simply snuffs out, and they fall through a trap door of blackness.Sandy Banks's latest column for the Los Angeles Times covers the Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services annual potlock for people bereaved by suicide and draws a rich montage of the voices and stories of the survivors who shared the day with one another:
They talked about the lessons they learned from a loved one's sudden demise: "It's a perilous journey, so grab what you can," said a man whose sister has been dead now longer than she was alive. "Her death taught me to live a better, more meaningful life."Becky Murray, a survivor of her 49-year-old husband's sucicide in 2011, shares the notes he left behind in a poignant video that accompanies a Washington Post story on high suicide rates among baby boomers. Even in the midst of her pain, she says:
"Here I am, thankful that I had him in my life. Very thankful. I wouldn't change a thing."In Australia, Amanda Cuthbertson, who lost her 16-year-old son to suicide, and Mitch McPherson, who lost his 18-year-old brother, are working together on the Albie House project, where troubled youth will be able to "access support and guidance 24/7" and the suicide bereaved "can connect with others who understand." The project is named after Cuthbertson's son Albert, and the promotional jingle -- "Speak Up! Stay ChatTY" -- is a salute to McPherson's brother Ty. In a recent Mercury news report, Cuthbertson says,
"People will listen because we've lived it. We can do something positive."In a post on "Motherlode," writer Jackie Ashton looks back to her perspective on grief as a nine-year-old, after her mother died of a brain aneurysm:
It became clear, like a quick burst of ice-cold water in a hot shower, that the grown-ups couldn't give me easy answers anymore, all wrapped up in a neat, cherry-red bow. Did the adults even have the answers? This thought rocked my world.A report from the Times-News in Twin Falls, Idaho, tells the stories of several survivors of suicide loss, including Linda Schiers, whose 28-year-old daughter died by suicide in 2011. Schiers, who started the Dragonfly Hope Foundation in her daughter's memory, says,
"There's a lot of different kinds of stress -- psychological stress, environmental stress, physical stress," Schiers said, noting her daughter was a social worker who helped students in area schools. But she had a mental disorder. "She did exactly what she was supposed to do to help the kids, but she didn't seek help herself."