Franklin James Cook

Links to Suicide Grief Stories: June 3, 2009

In Grief Stories Series on June 2, 2009 at 11:06 pm

[Editor’s note: “Links to Suicide Grief Stories …” is a SPNAC series featuring stories of survivors of suicide loss–about the effect their loved one’s suicide has had on them and how they are coping with their grief. FJC]

In “Glitterati help erase mental illness stigma,” Society Editor Frank Brown interviews Sam Bloom, a long-time suicide prevention advocate in California, who reflects on recipients of the Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center’s “Erasing the Stigma” leadership award. Bloom and his wife, Lois, lost their son Sammy to suicide in 1982.

“Stigma prevents people from seeking help,” said Sam Bloom … “The way we reduce stigma is to make the public aware that mental illness is a brain disease much like cancer is a cellular disease or diabetes a disease of the blood.” (Palos Verdes Peninsula News)

In “One person can help prevent suicide, forum hears,” writer Julie Slack reports on a forum held in Peel, Ontario, Canada, where David Harris, a survivor of his son’s suicide in 2005, told the assembled crowd about CameronHelps, the teen suicide awareness organization he launched.

In an emotional presentation, Harris said he turned to friends who are there to guide him through his grief. He made a pact to run 19 consecutive Mississauga Marathons, one for each year of Cameron’s life. After last Sunday’s race, he has 14 more to go. Harris also decided to hold what he hopes will become an annual five-kilometre run/walk in Port Credit, as part of the Mississauga Waterfront Festival. Called “Find a Way,” the first run is slated for June 21. (The Missauga News)

In “Amid grief, love blossoms,” reporter Claire Martin recounts how an Aspen, Colo., couple were brought together by their grief over the deaths of family members. Art Daily’s wife and two children died in an accident in 1995, and upon hearing of the tragedy, Allison Snyder, who had lost her brother to suicide, sent a gift to Daily. The two corresponded, and …

After a courtship that swung between caution and impetuousness–what about their 25-year age difference, would Allison always dwell in the shadow of Art’s grief?–they married, roughly 15 months after the Glenwood Canyon accident.

Now, more than a dozen years later, Daily and Snyder have written a book, Out of the Canyon, which “is devoted to the singular story of how Art and Allison met” and includes “an afterword, ‘Grief Has No Rules,’ sharing their thoughts on mourning and on the best ways to comfort someone in the wake of a death.”  (The Denver Post)

In “Friends honor Seibert, raise awareness about teen suicide,” Gracie Bonds Staples reports on how a half a dozen of a young suicide victim’s friends launched The Seibert Foundation in his memory.

More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined. For Kyle Murphy and six of Ben [Seibert]’s other friends, those statistics translate into human lives.

“Suicide is not inevitable, and the only thing you can do wrong is nothing,” Murphy said. “Everybody can do something to participate.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

In “Parents reach out through their grief,” reporter Cathy Dyson covers the journey of Todd and Michelle Brown, whose daughter, Carol Anne, died by suicide in April.

Carol Anne’s obituary spoke of her many attributes–her smile and her ability to accept people for who they were. It hailed her as an accomplished equestrian, lacrosse player and actress, a young woman who accumulated 300 hours of community service with groups that help animals and handicapped children, and whose organs were donated after her death.

Then the obituary mentioned something not found in most death notices–that “Carol Anne suffered from the destructive illness of depression and bipolarism.” The Browns encouraged others to seek medical attention for loved ones who suffer from “this dreaded illness, especially teenagers during these most fragile years.”

Dyson’s report is accompanied by a video by Rebecca Sell, “Reaching out for Carol Anne,” in which the Browns talk about their daughter’s struggles in the last three years of her life. In the end, says Todd Brown,

“This can happen to any family, and we have to just be more diligent in looking for it.” (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

[The abridged URL for this post is http://tinyurl.com/GriefStories02 .]

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