December 17, 1977 – June 4, 2010
"This website was developed in memory of my son, Eric, who suicided in 2010. While this wasn't my only experience with losing someone to suicide, it definitely took me down further than I thought possible. As you can see in the photo, he loved animals, but as with many photos, the smile can cover painful secrets. Eric's was that he was bipolar...diagnosed at age 16. Even while playing the "medication shuffle," he graduated college and became an amazing personal trainer. Isn't it interesting how there are two layers to people...the one they show the world while trying to play by society's rules and the other tucked away in the head?
Eric made this picture (left) when he was five years old.
I share it with you because if you look closely, you can see the beginning of Bipolar. He said, "Mom, sometimes I'm so happy and sometimes really sad." So he wrapped it into one person. I didn't see it all then, but now it makes sense. Isn't hindsight 20/20? So much of his every word and action I've analyzed, just trying to understand and put the pieces together. But now I've come to a point of letting go and accepting the joy, the pain and just feeling love for his memory....peace is starting to settle in.
Come to think of it, this website is in memory of those YOU lost as well and please know that I try to understand and have deep compassion for that. I wish you peace and loving memories. Please ask questions or comment on Eric's life...I love for anyone to think of him.
Also, I'm grateful for Michelle Linn-Gust, who worked diligently researching and writing for the site. She has a passion that comes from going down this Suicide Road that so many of us travel. I also dedicate this site to her sister, Denise."
Love to you,
April 4, 1975 – March 18, 1993
"In eighteen years, I've had plenty of time to think about the suicide of my sister Denise. To go back and read my daily journals from the first years of her death, I see a constant struggle to understand why she ended her life. Today, the journey means something different to me. I always have felt her presence with me, whether it is through the song on the radio that I associate with her, "Rodeo" by Garth Brooks, or via the synchronicity of life where events fall together that only she and I could understand. While I will never completely understand her decision to end her life, I know that her pain was too great for her to handle as a seventeen-year-old girl. She didn't mean to hurt any of us, she only wanted her hurt to stop. Even in her death though, I know that she walks my road of life with me, supporting me as I work to help others find hope and healing through suicide loss or other life changes."
Michelle Linn-Gust, Ph.D., is an international author and speaker about coping with loss and change. She is the author of several books including Rocky Roads: The Journeys of Families through Suicide Grief and Ginger's Gift: Hope and Healing Through Dog Companionship. Her first book, based on the suicide of her younger sister Denise, Do They Have Bad Days in Heaven? Surviving the Suicide Loss of a Sibling, inspired siblings around the world in their survival after a loved one's suicide. She is the President of the American Association of Suicidology. Her second novel, Sisters: The Karma Twist, was released in late August 2011. Read more about Michelle at www.michellelinngust.com.
Special thanks to...
We should be grateful to friends who listen and don't judge. Three friends that Cheryl would like to thank for their support and listening to her ad nauseum are Ginny Tape, Marianne Westen, and Sloan Cunningham. Such angels during these difficult times.
Both Cheryl and Michelle would like to thank all the contributors to the Suicide: Finding Hope web site, and also to several individuals who gave their time to gather, review content and edit. They are: Chris Drapeau, B.G.S.; Peter Gutierrez, Ph.D.; Timothy Lineberry, M.D.; John McIntosh, Ph.D.; Danielle Dematas; Carol Capitano; Lanny Berman, Ph.D.; Stephen O'Connor, Ph.D.; Marianne Linn; and photographer Sloan Cunningham whose nature photographs grace this site. We couldn't have done this without all of you helping us. Suicide: Finding Hope is a web site made up of many people who care and want to help others.
Why the dragonfly?