Suicide Prevention Month: It’s OK to Feel Sad

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This post is part of a Suicide Prevention Month blog series. Read the other blogs here.

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I wasn’t close to my uncle when we lost him to suicide in 2003. In fact, I hardly knew him at all.

When I was much younger we’d visited a few times, but I don’t remember those visits. I don’t remember ever talking to him on the phone while growing up, and I don’t remember my father talking much about him as an adult. Uncle Kent was, to me, the boy in my dad’s stories of growing up: the smarter, less athletic, more sensitive twin.

To me, he was the 12-year-old who was suspended after freeing animals from the school science lab; the co-conspirator 18-year-old with whom my dad moved out of the house as high school seniors and worked nights to pay rent after too many fights with their step-dad and the brilliant guy who want to Michigan Law and had a photographic memory. My dad always spoke fondly, but distantly, of him even when he was alive.

I found out he had died by suicide when I was 12 and on vacation with my grandparents and sister.

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Suicide Prevention Month: A Survivor’s Guardian Angel

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This post is part of a Suicide Prevention Month blog series. Read the other blogs here.

Active Minds suicide survivor“I’d like to give you something,” my school counselor said as she pulled something out of her pocket. “It’s been in my family for generations and, if you want, you can keep it. I thought it could be your guardian angel.” She hugged me and handed me a small blue, glass angel figurine. I accepted her gift reluctantly, not sure if I should take something from her, as I had met with her only a few times before.

I recently reached out to that school counselor. We exchanged email and spoke through Facebook. She wrote me ‘with tears streaming down [her] face’ and expressed how touched and grateful she was. But it was really I who had reason to be grateful.

I met with this counselor after my mom died by suicide. My dad had just come back into my life months before, and nothing in my life seemed to make sense. I felt out of control.

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