This is a picture of my nephew, Paul, the eldest son of my middle sister. Paul was so close to my husband and I when he was little and it was like he was our own child. He was especially close to my daughter. He was proud of his service in the United States Army and served during Desert Storm. Sadly, on a July day in 2001 when he was just 36 years old, for a reason we will never know, Paul took his own life. Our lives and our world would never quite be the same again.
In the years since he died, I have been so taken aback by the number of people that I have discovered that suicide has affected. It has been a friend, a co-worker, a nurse, a shop owner, the list goes on. Many have had someone in their family who saw, for a brief moment, no way out of their personal pain. They leave behind a legacy of grief and guilt. "Why didn't I know?" "What could I have done?" "If I had only....."
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is at the forefront of research, education and prevention initiatives designed to reduce loss of life from suicide. With more than 33,000 lives lost each year in the U.S. and over one million worldwide, the importance of AFSP's mission has never been greater, nor their work more urgent. September 4th starts National Suicide Prevention week and culminates on September 10th with World Suicide Prevention day on September 10th. Through this organization, Out of the Darkness Walks are being held across the country to raise funds for research and education .
Why do they call it Out of the Darkness? For some, the pain and perceived shame is too difficult to talk about. We need to do all we can to support those around us who are hurting. We need tell those out there that see no "way out" that there is indeed a door of compassion and help they can reach for. We need to let those left behind know that there are others who know what they are going through and that they have our support and understanding.
This Saturday, September 10th, four generations of women in my family, including Paul's Mother, will participate in the Out of the Darkness Walk in Modesto to honor his memory. We covet your prayers during that day. I know it will be difficult for us all. If you see it in your heart to donate to this organization, please contact me via my email and I will give you the information needed to do so.
Thank you so much.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Out of the Darkness
This Sunday, the thoughts of the nation, if not the world, will be on the events that happened on September 11, 2001. Our family did not lose a loved one in that terrible tragedy. However, we did lose someone earlier in that same year.