Join Me in Supporting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
I am walking in the Out of the Darkness St. Petersburg Walk to help fight suicide and support AFSP's bold goal to reduce the suicide rate 20% by 2025.
Please help me reach my personal goal by clicking the "Donate" button on this page. All donations are 100% tax deductible and benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), funding research, education, advocacy and support for those affected by suicide.
Why is this cause so important to me?
Over 10 years ago my father John took his own life, it was hard for me to understand why? I felt alone, helpless, hopeless, and I felt like there was something I could have done. I was angry and had so many unanswered questions. Over time I eventually learned to just live with what happened and get on with life . . . then
4 years ago my brother in law Eddie took his life, leaving behind two beautiful girls, parents, brothers and sisters. This was hard on his daughters, and family and brought back a lot of the questions and the anger for me. I kept thinking how can I help these two girls, how can I help my husband Kevin, and are they thinking like I thought? Are they angry like I was? I again felt helpless and hopeless, and still had so many unanswered questions.
Around this time my husband's co-worker Justin went through the loss of his father to suicide. I didn't know Justin at the time. But when you've been through a loss of a loved one to suicide you, just feel . . . and for me, it brought back those same questions, the feeling of helplessness etc.
Justin told my husband Kevin about the Out of the Darkness Walks, which inspired Kevin to want to take part in it. Honestly, at that time I didn't know how I felt about the walk, I believe I was holding in a lot of anger still. My husband ended up doing walk with our granddaughter Kayden while I was working.
My First Out of the Darkness Walk - how it helped me
The first walk I did was last year, it was overwhelming and honestly, I didn't expect my reaction. I knew why I was walking, I knew the feelings I had been keeping safely tucked away. But that day . . . they all poured out.
I never knew there were so many people who had lost a loved one to suicide. I mean I knew it happened, and I have felt the pain of my losses, I saw the hurt and pain in my husband's eyes at his loss. But to see the pictures, hear the stories of all the people that had taken their own life, some so very young hit me like a brick wall.
I started crying not for me and my losses, but for the young man that felt like nothing but suicide was his answer. I cried for every one of the people we were walking for. I tried to fight back the tears and be strong but I couldn't.
I remembered walking little ways from my husband and son Noah, and a complete stranger walked up to me and hugged me, she told me it was going to be alright, and that I wasn't alone then disappeared into the crowd. I never got to thank her, I never got to tell her I was crying for her loss too.
My first Out of the Darkness Walk helped me understand that I wasn’t alone. The walk brings together many people who have lost a loved one to suicide. In a helpless situation, it helps you feel like you’ve done . . . something. It gives you hope in a situation where you may have lost all hope. It also does something deeper more intimate, but I don’t know how to put into words. It's like . . .
When we lose a loved one we don’t EVER forget them, but the walk helped me remember more of the good and a little less of the cause. I guess ... that's the best way to describe it.
Walking not only for me but . . .
I not only walk in remembrance of my father John and my brother-in-law Eddie, but I walk in support of my husband Kevin who lost his little brother, for my sister Catina who lost her father, for my in-laws Mary Ann and Edward. who lost their son, for my sister-in-laws Christine & Kelly who lost their brother.
I walk for my nieces Sarah and Kaitlyn who lost the father they adored, for my nephews Brett & Brandon who lost an uncle, for my kids & granddaughters who will never meet their grandfather/great-grandfather, and for everyone else out there that has lost a loved one to suicide.
Special thanks to our national Out of the Darkness Walks sponsor
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in our latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.