Life was so different back in 2006. I was living in western Washington State as a single mother of two teenagers and working full time to support them. With also working a side gig, I was just trying to keep up with all of our crazy schedules. My sixteen year old daughter began to show signs of mental imbalance beginning in July. Unfortunately, although I sought out professional treatment for her, she died by suicide at the end of that year.

My life was shattered and became much different. Every day was painful and surreal. I just wanted my baby back. When I wasn’t at work, I was crying in bed with the blanket over my head. I lived in, “the fog” which is that period of time when a loss survivor struggles with memory. And, I struggled with parenting my other child.

Within nine months of my loss, I was in self-preservation mode. I quit my jobs, my son moved in with his father and I packed up my belongings and moved 2,000 miles away. This was so I could start on the journey of my new normal. Over time, as I attended peer support groups, AFSP walks, and other survivor events, I learned that I had a great support system in other loss survivors. While we all had different stories, a lot of the elements of grief were the same such as struggling with the immense guilt of the loss and losing friends and family who didn’t understand us. 

Now, fourteen years after the loss of my daughter, I advocate for others who battle through this pain so they can find some sort of meaning in their tragedy. It’s important for people who haven’t lost someone to suicide to understand that our grief doesn’t fade instantly nor is it linear. Your soul gets deconstructed and you’re forced to put it back together in a totally different way than it existed before. Knowing that my loss, pain and grief journey will help others to battle through their own grief ultimately perpetuates my own healing and brings meaning to my loss. #SuicideLoss #griefawareness #pleasedonthide #AFSP #AAS