In The News
C.A.R.E.S. Elects Board and names new Program Director!
Read our Press Release as published in the News-Press about changes to the board and the addition of our new program director!
Suicide Crisis Needs Solutions
Out of the darkness: Putting a face on suicide
THE MORNING BLEND SHOW
Mary Richardson Kennedy's battle ( 5/24/12)
Estranged Wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Is Found Dead at Home in Westchester (5/16/12)
Austerity drives up suicide rate in debt-ridden Greece (6/4/12)
Man who wrote poignant essay about Alzheimer's kills wife, self (3/20/12)
Exposing the Body, Baring the Soul (3/15/12)
Years After Acid Horror,
Suicide never justified
By Mandie Rainwater
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2012
No one ever prepares for death, even though we all know it comes at some point. We learn this as very young children when we lose a goldfish or other beloved family pet. But, what if your first experience with death is that of a parent?
When my daughter was four I had the very real experience of telling her that her father had died. He was in North Carolina and I was living here in Cape Coral. I waited a week to tell her. I had to decide how I should tell a four-year-old that her father was gone and what to say about the circumstances that surrounded his death. He shot himself in the head.
We had been up to NC over the Thanksgiving weekend where she spent five uninterrupted days with him. He laid out plans about the upcoming Christmas holidays and what he was going to do with her. Less than three days later I received the call that he had died at his own hands.
I had never known anyone that died by suicide, which by the way is the proper way to speak about those who have died—not “commit suicide.” I had never had to think about how to tell my youngest about any of this. There was no place that I could find that could help me. So, after a week of reading about the various things to say and not say, like don’t say “went to sleep and didn’t wake up,” the child may not sleep for days without fear, I told her sitting in our living room that he had died.
Next to the soft glowing light of the Christmas tree I broke my daughters heart, a task from which I may not be fully recovered.
Later that night she asked, aged beyond her years in a matter of hours, how he died. In an effort to not lie, I answered he had been shot. When she took her fingers, in the shape of a gun, and placed them against her temple, I recognized there was a problem.
It took me months to find help with C.A.R.E.S. Suicide Prevention, the organization that I now humbly serve. They helped me find therapy for Morgan. After some very intense session, Morgan revealed that the last week she was with her father he had indicated what was on his mind. He had tried to cry out for help to a four-year-old, who had no idea what was going on. My job now, as a mother, is to address the lasting implications of this every time she hits a new milestone in her life. Some days she will just be staring out the window and bring it up.
We talk freely about the choice of suicide in our house and the other circumstances that surrounded the death of her father.
Statistically, for every one completed suicide there are six survivors (immediate loved ones heavily impacted by the death). Of those six, one will attempt suicide as well. I refuse to let my daughter be that statistic.
Suicide is an act that I honestly believe is 100 percent preventable. I have known many people who have had to get that phone call or late night knock at the door telling them that their son, brother, daughter or sister has taken their own lives.
And no one saw it coming, until they looked back. Many people will give some indicators that they are thinking about suicide and it’s our job to question those. I know many people that I have aggravated because I come out and ask them “Are you thinking about hurting yourself?” I have no shame in it.
I know what it’s like to be on the other side of the decision, and I won’t be put there again if I can help it.
Suicide can also be impulsive. People feel as if they have nothing to live for or the stress of everyday life (like exams and relationships) is taking a toll. If you every feel this, please call the National Suicide Hotline and talk with someone. If you notice a friend or roommate start to change their habits or give things away, come out and ask them.
You may be the one person who shows them there is something to live for. Suicidal feelings are most common in the Spring. The coming together for holidays has passed and people often find themselves alone, where depression and other feelings can take hold. If you feel these things, find someone to talk to. If you see these in others, be the someone that listens.
There are things worth living for. Sometimes they just obscure themselves from view. There is no mother, father, husband, wife, child or friend who needs to feel the tremendous loss that comes when a person dies by suicide.
It is like no other pain that can be experienced. There is no murder to lash out against, there is no car accident to analyze for answers—there is just a void. All that’s left is sadness that infiltrates everyone who ever cared and thoughts that they should have done more, but now they can’t.
While suicide is a decision made by one in a moment of crisis, it has lasting effects on many more than one is often aware of.
Before you put that gun to your head, those pills in your mouth, or point the nose of your car at that tree, think about the faces of those you love. I don’t know if Morgan’s father saw her in the moment before he decided to put the gun to his head. I hope he didn’t see her in the split second after it was too late.
Cape Coral's First Suicide Resource Center Open
June 6, 2008
Virginia Cervasio holds the ribbon after it was cut during a grand opening Thursday evening of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center in Cape Coral, FL. Cervasio started an organization for people who have lost a loved one to suicide after her son Angelo Cervasio, 24, killed himself in January 2006.