grief

Amanda "I Thought I Was Lucky"

Amanda "I Thought I Was Lucky"

“At one point, I gave up on everything. For two years, I endured pain that no woman should experience. Physically and emotionally. I remember feeling hopeless, defeated, and angry. I was tired of letting this disease define me and control our lives. I knew I was the only one who could break the cycle. That I was the one who needed to start listening to myself. Two years ago, I made the decision to become my own advocate. I have learned that it is okay to stand up for myself, and that my opinion is valuable. That I am not powerless. That I am not hopeless. And that all I can hope for is a day without pain. Someday…”

READ AMANDA’S STORY HERE

Mary Jane & Tim "Dear Sam"

Mary Jane & Tim "Dear Sam"

“Suicide has taken our son, Sam. He was nineteen. It was his way of escaping the pain that he was in. He didn’t see any way out other than taking his own life. He viewed his issues as something that would only get worse over time and he was just tired of living in the pain. It’s truly changed everything about me. Every day I wake up in the morning and go to bed at night thinking about him. It’s extremely difficult to sleep, to think clearly, to get through a day.

Now I know that he was in a lot more pain than he let us in on, and that’s one of the big issues that we would like to let people know about; you have to talk about the things that are bothering you or it will only get worse. Letting people in your life know what you’re dealing with is the first step to getting better and getting past those suicidal thoughts. I have to let people know that suicide affects everybody.” - Tim

READ TIM’S STORY HERE

Don "Known, Needed, Loved"

Don "Known, Needed, Loved"

“As my problems mounted, I desperately sought relief from the weight of the pain and sense of failure piling up. Eventually, I just wanted to stop waking up and living in pain, hurt and sinking further into a life of failure. I was at the point where I knew that I needed to stop ruining the lives of those who loved me and if I really loved them, I would do them justice by ending my life. Yes, the enemy had some really good rational lies that helped me rationalize my actions when I pulled the trigger that fateful day…”

READ DON’S STORY HERE

Tammy "Visible Scars, Invisible Wounds"

Tammy "Visible Scars, Invisible Wounds"

“I had eleven entrance/exit wounds on my body and I was scared if I went to sleep I wouldn’t wake back up. Before the surgery, I asked a nurse if they would wipe my tears, and that if I had any mascara that ran, if they could wipe that too, so my children wouldn't know I had been crying. I also asked if I could be covered up, so they wouldn't see the blood, and if there was blood on the floor, if they could have someone mop it... It’s crazy to think now that I was concerned with blood on the floor, but all I could think about and was worried about was how this scene would scare the kids. I wanted to protect them and let them know I was going to be ok. Isn't that what moms do?”

READ TAMMY’S STORY HERE

Sarah "A Brighter Path"

Sarah "A Brighter Path"

“I always felt like something was wrong with me, and I was just wrong for existing. I truly believed I was to blame. There was about two or three years in a row where I was just feeling guilty over every single thing I did and said, and I just wanted to be gone, to not have to deal with life anymore because life isn't worth living. When I was at my lowest of lows, it looked like defeat, like hopelessness. Today, I want people to know that you're not alone, and that there's always something to get you through it, regardless of how terrible it feels. Life is so worth living and you'll find your reason, you just haven’t found it yet.”

READ SARAH’S STORY HERE

James "Life Is Worth Living"

James "Life Is Worth Living"

“When they got to my house they said I wasn’t breathing. They had to incubate me, and if it wasn’t for my psychiatrist, I would of died...but sometimes I think I’d be better off. Even now that I know life is worth it, I still have struggles. I would love to get over them struggles, just don’t know how yet. Some days I think that I bring goodness to other people...I like to make people happy. If they got a problem I can cheer them up…”

READ JAMES’S STORY HERE

Gary "Worth Something"

Gary "Worth Something"

“Right now I’m struggling with being homeless. Knowing where I’m gonna lay my head, gettin' up in the morning, wondering where my next meal gonna come from. The struggles of homelessness...dealing with the suicide issue...I felt left alone in the dark, I didn’t care, didn’t have no home, didn’t want to live. Didn’t want to be here, just wanted to be resting in peace. ‘Cause being homeless is no rest at all. When I leave up outta here...see, you go home and lay your head on a pillow, and I gotta put mine down on some cement.”

READ GARY’S STORY HERE

Oliver "The Road To Self Love"

Oliver "The Road To Self Love"

“In seventh grade I realized I was queer and went under the title of pansexual. Later, I kept discovering more and more about myself and finally understood that I am transgender. From there, I gave myself a new name: Oliver. It fits me incredibly well, and when I wear it I feel confident and happy. As time went by, hearing my given name and seeing my biological anatomy became more and more agitating. I grew helpless, hopeless, and utterly restless with myself. In this period of my life, I was growing, but I was also struggling with depression, self-depreciation, and extreme suicidal tendencies to the point where I almost took my life.”

READ OLIVER’S STORY HERE

Angie "I Am Good Enough"

Angie "I Am Good Enough"

“I started a downward spiral that I couldn’t stop. I didn’t like how it felt. I knew I was struggling. I started to get criticism from people, and because I was a people-pleaser, I tried to do everything people wanted me to do. I thought I was staying strong by doing it on my own and not asking for help. What was strong and courageous was for me reaching out for help. That is true strength and true courage. And the more I reached out, the more I found out that other people had gone through it, or were going through it. They had a mask on too, and eventually the circle of support was unbelievable.”

READ ANGIE’S STORY HERE

Jordan "Masks On Masks"

Jordan "Masks On Masks"

“Taking your life is not the way out. It’s not a second chance, it’s nothing of that sort. Sometimes stuff doesn’t get better, but there’s going to be ways that are going to help you through those hard times. When you look at yourself in the mirror, don’t look at yourself as a fake person, like it’s time to put on the mask. Think of yourself as the most beautiful person on the planet. You are one of a kind. There is no one like you. You can do anything you put your heart to, anything you put your mind to, because life is a one time thing and it’s too short to keep yourself down.”

READ JORDAN’S STORY HERE

Dawn "People Are Just Beautiful"

Dawn "People Are Just Beautiful"

“I was probably about thirteen when I decided that I probably wasn’t going to live until twenty. I didn’t fit in the world anywhere. At nineteen I got pregnant with my son. I decided that, “I guess I’m not gonna die, so I’m gonna have to try to figure out my way in this world, as scary as it is. Life’s an adventure. Life isn’t fair, and bad things happen, but because of the things I’ve experienced and seen, I have a very deep empathy for a multitude of situations that children and adults face. I guess that’s a good quality? I can see past all the bad things and just see how beautiful people are in the rawness of life. People are just beautiful, just the way they are. A behavior is a behavior, but it has nothing to do with how beautiful they are inside.”

READ DAWN’S STORY HERE

Laurel "Don't Fake Happiness"

Laurel "Don't Fake Happiness"

“You wouldn’t normally think that a nine year old would hate their life and wouldn’t want to live anymore, but nine years old was probably the worst year of my life. I first started feeling depressed around the age of six, and for me, being depressed is such a vulnerable feeling; and I just don’t want to fake happiness. Depression can really just feel like you’re not living anymore. At times I felt helpless and like there was no point because I was so focused on what was happening at the moment and I didn’t see myself having a better future or getting better for a long time. Every day it felt like I was putting myself through more torture, but eventually I found things in the moment that helped me just get through each day…”

READ LAUREL’S STORY HERE

Cindy "Find Peace"

Cindy "Find Peace"

I just remember life starting not much before my mom died. And I remember that night. And, being woken up with a gunshot sound and going downstairs and finding her in the basement… and things being a mess. Then my dad came home and I ran back up and got in my bed. I didn’t know what to do. Then I remember the neighbors coming and covering up my head and taking me next door. I saw the ambulance and my mom being taken away. I knew my mom was dead when I saw her downstairs after I heard the gunshot, because part of her head was gone. My brother and I were just told to not to talk about it, and it was never spoken of again. It’s been forty years now and my dad, my brother and I still haven’t discussed the suicide.”

READ CINDY’S STORY HERE

Angela "It's Never Hopeless"

Angela "It's Never Hopeless"

“I remembered saying no. After having that realization, feelings and flashbacks started coming back to me. There was nothing I could do to get what I had back. Those men had taken something from me. I am supposed to have the right to say no. I didn’t even know what happened until two weeks afterwards. Not only did they take something from me that I couldn’t get back, they left horrible disturbing feelings in its place. I felt like there was nothing I could do and they got away with it.

Not only do I still have my life but I have brought a new one into this world; a beautiful baby girl. I am so in love with her and she is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. She inspires me to show her how awesome life can be. I know that even if it is really, really bad and nothing makes sense and it just seems hopeless, it is never hopeless. Don’t ever think it’s hopeless.”

READ ANGELA’S STORY HERE

Larry "Missing Puzzle Piece"

Larry "Missing Puzzle Piece"

“My son taking his own life was a surprise to me. Even 10 years later, to say my son is not here, that I can’t talk to him, I can’t ask him how he’s doing... I can’t think about him getting married one day or having kids or his future anymore...I can’t even put it into words. He is like a missing puzzle piece in my life. I keep wanting to put that missing piece back but I can’t. It’s just not there. That puzzle piece will never be replaced. I have to keep going on…”

READ LARRY’S STORY HERE

Stephanie "Just Live"

Stephanie "Just Live"

“I was confined to my home for 14 years with agoraphobia. My entire world had shrunk. I did not leave. At all. I literally felt like if I backed out of the driveway, I was going to die. It was extremely isolating. One day I told my husband not to worry about it, that I could do it, I’d be fine. But I knew that was the day I was going to die. I felt like I had no one and that it would be easier on my kids to visit me at the cemetery than to see me slowly dying at home.

Eventually I started getting better, and knew I only had one shot and I was wasting away. So that’s why I came out, guns blazing…”

READ STEPHANIE’S STORY HERE

Jennifer "Legacy of Joy"

Jennifer "Legacy of Joy"

​“Reese was just about to turn four, then instantly - life changed. Who I was changed. We were hopeful that this would be a bump in the road because her odds were good. We celebrated and thought we had won the war. However, we had only won the first battle.

It’s now been two years since she passed...I don’t even know how that’s possible. How has it been that long since I held her, painted her nails or reminded her to take a pill? It's unreal, yet at the same time, it's very much my reality. It's also what empowers me to live the biggest life possible. My job now is to spread the powerful message of joy.”

READ JENNIFER’S STORY HERE

Stephanie "His Mom Strong"

Stephanie "His Mom Strong"

“There is so much pressure to be happy, to be successful, to be in a relationship, to be so many things, and we’re not all there yet. I wish society would stop putting so much pressure on happiness, and more emphasis on honesty and authenticity, and happiness would come organically. Grief, depression and anxiety aren’t choices. A positive perspective, the will to face each new day, the will to fight for your life is a choice of action but even those are a struggle for some. I thought I was failing because I wasn’t happy.

No, you’re alive. You’re here for a reason. What you’re going through is hard and it take times to process and to learn how to navigate; but keep going. Don’t give up.”

READ STEPHANIE'S STORY HERE

Cindy "Love You Forever"

Cindy "Love You Forever"

“…During this time, I had so many people tell me that they were sorry and that they couldn’t believe we had to go through this. At this point it came to me—why do we ask why? We only ask "Why?" when we are dealt with something we don’t like. I never asked why I was so lucky to have healthy kids and a good job. So I decided “why?” wasn’t going to be a question anymore."

READ CINDY'S STORY HERE

Kelly "Blindsided"

Kelly "Blindsided"

“…As a caregiver, I felt defenseless. Richard's melanoma was relentless and we could not control how quickly it spread. But what I could control was spreading melanoma awareness so that others might avoid the same heartache that my family went through.”

READ KELLY’S STORY HERE

Kristi "Heaven Gained a True Angel"

Kristi "Heaven Gained a True Angel"

“We have come a long way from losing the best man I have ever known. On September 24th, 2014 heaven gained a true angel. Blake Glenn, my husband and the father of my two daughters, took his life on that dreaded day. I will never forget the intense shot of pain that pierced my heart and changed our lives forever. I can remember it as if it was yesterday, but feel as though I have not seen my sweet husband in years.”

READ KRISTI’S STORY HERE

Dave "En-Gage"

Dave "En-Gage"

“A suicide survivor is one who has lost a family member or someone close to them by suicide. I lost my son on Feb 22nd of this year. As I sit here typing, it still seems like a bad dream that I will wake up from at some point. I wish that was the case but I know that it’s not a dream. It is a reality that my family and I have been handed.”

READ DAVE’S STORY HERE

Leigh "The Color In My Life"

Leigh "The Color In My Life"

“Fast forward through fourteen months of bliss, laughter, and happy family. Then, one day, Kenny suddenly had a heart attack and passed away. Just like that he was gone. He had brought color to my life and it just vanished. It was like a candle being blown out.”

READ LEIGH’S STORY HERE

Katie "Make You Feel My Love"

Katie "Make You Feel My Love"

Grief. Sometimes, we get to prepare for it. Sometimes it follows a long illness that gives us time to accept the inevitable, even when we know it won’t be easy and we can never truly prepare for the loss. Sometimes, though, it punches us in the face with the power of a prize fighter gunning for a knock out…

READ KATIE’S STORY HERE

Chuck "Borrow My Angel"

Chuck "Borrow My Angel"

“The full gamut of emotions were here again. Sadness. Frustration. Anger. Confusion. Peace knowing she’ll never hurt again. It can’t be explained with the English language if you haven’t experienced it. I do have peace knowing I’ll one day see her again, but I’d give anything to have her smile, her laugh, her stories for just one more day.”

READ CHUCK’S STORY HERE

Megan "Real Gifts, Not Possessions"

Megan "Real Gifts, Not Possessions"

“Hospice had come to our home to check on us and we were told it would be any time now. Ben was laying between my legs on my bed. My husband looked at my son, whose breathe had become more shallow and faint and said, "We are here when you are ready." Ben looked at me, smiled and squeezed my hand and then did the same for my husband. Then his eyes closed and what was left was his physical form.”

READ MEGAN’S STORY HERE

Anna "Just Less Orderly"

Anna "Just Less Orderly"

“People do not just commit suicide without reason. There is usually a combination of factors that lead someone to make the final decision to end their own life. Drew was loved beyond measure. Unfortunately, Drew probably did not feel that love for a good portion of his childhood.”

READ ANNA’S STORY HERE

Megan "Riding on the Waves"

Megan "Riding on the Waves"

“I started the frantic calls to my parent's home. I started to get lost in my head of what could be going on. Finally I got an answer and it's my mom who lived in Stockton. She doesn't sound like my mom and she's repeating over and over, "please don't take him, please don't take him." I fell to the floor sobbing…”

READ MEGAN’S STORY HERE

Kristina "He Won His Wings"

Kristina "He Won His Wings"

“I am a twenty-seven year old widow. I lost my husband last year to Stage IV Colon Cancer. We were seven months pregnant when he was diagnosed. We fought it with despair, pain and anger. What frustrates me the most is the pictures of cancer the media never portrays. The shattered lives of those left behind, step-mom's who lost their husband and their step-daughter all in the same moment. Mom's raising their sons who are physical replicas of their dads, answering questions of when daddy is coming back, the daily fight of convincing yourself you have to get out of bed, make a difference, continue to live...yet with guilt, sorrow, and unbelievable sadness”

READ KRISTINA’S STORY HERE

Lisa "Crown of Beauty"

Lisa "Crown of Beauty"

“I got the phone call that would forever change my life: “Cain is dead”…”

READ LISA’S STORY HERE

Cindi "Love You To Heaven and Back"

Cindi "Love You To Heaven and Back"

“In January, 2014, I got the knock on my door no parent ever wants to answer. The police were here to tell me my son Craig had died of suspicious circumstances although they knew drugs were involved. My heart broke into a million pieces and I didn’t think I could do this. But I still had two other children, my granddaughter and fiance who needed me as much as I needed them.”

READ CINDI’S STORY HERE

Erin "Broken Yet Gracious"

Erin "Broken Yet Gracious"

“I got lost in my grief over the next year - it was so hard to function. I honestly don't think I can put it into words. I was falling hard and had nowhere soft to land. I had a life to get back to but couldn't see a life without Abby.”

READ ERIN’S STORY HERE

Abby "Don't Give Up"

Abby "Don't Give Up"

"My boys (moms like us call them our “earthly children”) were all grown up now, ages 6 and 7. I had been robbed of their childhood grieving for the loss of my heavenly children one after another. I was sad, I was angry, I blamed myself, I blamed God."

READ ABBY’S STORY HERE

Kim "Living, Not Dying"

Kim "Living, Not Dying"

"Howard died March 29, 2013. Now what? Who was I without Howard? My only identity was as his wife and the girl’s mom. I had no idea how to move forward just being me."

READ KIM’S STORY HERE

Amanda "Seasons"

Amanda "Seasons"

"It started with an injury to my back costing me my career as a firefighter. Next, two of my grandparents passed away. Then, my brother who was a Marine Cobra Pilot was KIA in Afghanistan. Another grandparent passed only months after that. The icing on the cake was a divorce...”

READ AMANDA’S STORY HERE

Jill, Ezra and Linnea "Embrace Goodness"

Jill, Ezra and Linnea "Embrace Goodness"

"The saddest day of our lives was January 2, 2014, when our dear husband and daddy, Gary, died suddenly."

READ JILL, EZRA & LINNEA’S STORY HERE

SHELBY "REMEMBER"

SHELBY "REMEMBER"

"My tattoo reads "April 5th 2013. Why? Because that is the date my grandma died. She was my best friend."

READ SHELBY’S STORY HERE

Saylor "Haunting"

Saylor "Haunting"

“I could blame my actions on teenage heartbreak, emotional abuse and infidelity. That hollow feeling that engulfs your chest that you can’t shake no matter what you do. Giving your life to someone who wouldn’t necessarily mind if you weren’t there…”

READ SAYLOR’S STORY HERE

Holly "Radiant"

Holly "Radiant"

“...it was a lot of crying, and people trying to tell you that your mother’s gone. And it was just all blurry from there.”

READ HOLLY’S STORY HERE

Heather's Story "Silver Lining"

Heather's Story "Silver Lining"

"In all honesty though, it's been more difficult in these last two months than the first 10. Most days I feel like the light is just barely there."

READ HEATHER’S STORY HERE

Daniel's Story "February"

Daniel's Story "February"

"This February was full of trials that their family would have to overcome together. Daniel was faced with his mother being diagnosed with ALS and his wife having complications with a pregnancy."

Watch the short film "February" on Daniel's amazing story HERE.

Jessica's Story

Jessica's Story

"Thinking back on the sudden death of my dad when I was only 26-years-old, the game became simply 'trying to keep it together."

Read Jessica's complete story HERE.