The word itself is sickening. “Suicide.” It sounds gross, messy like some jiggling blob of slimy oil washing ashore with a dead bird in its killing embrace. I don’t want to contemplate the infinite black horizon seen prior to the act, but instead focus on how we can help one another avoid seeing even a shadow of that painful void.

Researching this of course turned up a Wikipedia entry for the 1980 Ozzy Osborne song, apparently written as a tribute to Bon Scott of AC/DC who drank himself to death. Now while sudden suicide is the subject here, I know there are many people slowly killing themselves through one form of abuse or another, but that’s a post I hope I never have to write.

Since the death of my nephew, Ryan, I’ve spoken with four people who have lost siblings to suicide. It’s staggered me how many people just around me are sad remainders of suicide. A couple weeks ago, a warm consoling hug included a whispered, “I can relate.” Only later did I learn about the loss of her closest brother two years ago… Just yesterday one of those conversations brought tears to the survivor as she recalled the loss of her sister 25 years ago… Twenty five years! I guess the impact of that loss never really subsides. The questions, doubts and guilt may scar over, but the wound never heals. As tides move in and out of our personal shores, the emptiness gets exposed when your confidant is not there, at random 10AM Thursdays, and at weddings that should never have been missed.

My sister-in-law is handling the loss of her son with amazing resilience and grace. The Monday after the Saturday funeral I called her to see how she was doing. “I got out of bed!” She then described the beautiful park she was walking in and how she tried to get Ryan to walk with her. If only he had, even just once, the experience might have changed his perspective…

Now Tammy is doing more than walking. Well, she’s walking for the cause of suicide prevention by supporting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in a “WalkOut of the Darkness Community Walk” in Wakefield on October 2nd.

Please support her if you can. You never know whose life you might be saving.