Surviving a Loss I lost someone near and dear to my heart to suicide. Our lives drastically changed on June 21, 2012. This is the day that I lost my 23-year-old daughter to suicide. My life was shattered on this day. From this day moving forward, life has never been the same for my family nor will it ever be the same. There were so many questions running through my mind. How can I make sense of this tragedy? What could I have done to prevent this? There are no right answers. However, I have learned that there was nothing I could have done. I didn’t know because she didn’t want me to know? There is no way to make sense of such a terrible tragedy. But the one question that I am learning to answer is how to move forward even through the tragedy of losing my daughter. Those days after her death were just a daze. Truthfully, they are still a daze to me because I wasn’t really there and wasn’t really living. I was consumed with grief. I knew that I still had other children and grandchildren that I had to live for. Even though it was hard to pull myself out of that dark world that I was living in; I knew that I needed to find a way to grieve and heal. Healing from the loss of a loved one to suicide is a lifelong process. Nothing about it is easy but it has to be done. Brittanie loved everyone and always gave her best to anything and anyone she encountered. She volunteered at organizations to help others; such as feeding the homeless to try to make a difference. She wanted to leave her stamp on the world and impact the lives of others. Her smile was priceless and she will forever live in my heart. That’s what I hold on to. I hold on to her smile, her love for her family and friends. I hold on to the great things she did in life. I can’t hold on to how she left this world because I can’t explain that or make sense of it. I can however make sense of the fact that her life meant something and was valuable as well as your loved ones and those of you that are here today with your own struggles. I vowed in her memory to do whatever I could to help those who have experienced the same loss that I have. I do this by giving them the support they need by offering them hope and a way to heal. Sometimes people just need to know there is life after suicide and I show them that through my everyday life and perseverance to push forward. I first learned about the AFSP after my first “Out of the Darkness” walk in November 2012. This was where my healing began. I volunteered to be a field advocate for ASFP. Since then, I’ve took part in our annual walks for the past four years with the support of family and friends. I couldn’t stand where I am today without the support of my loved ones. The more that I realized how much of a stigma there is around suicide and those that have a mental illness, I began to research and educate myself more. I did this so that I could help educate others in the community. I need to be more involved so that I could help to tear down the “stigma” around both mental illness and suicide. I serve on the Board of for the AFSP Central Texas Chapter and also volunteer as an admin on several social media support groups. I do this to help others who are dealing with the same grief that so many of us have experienced. I had to fight to save my own life but with the help of others, I am making it. It takes each one us to reach out together to educate others about suicide in an effort to stop suicide. Be a voice for those who no longer have a voice. I will continue to advocate for families affected by suicide by providing them with a voice, along with my support and the will to live. I AM, I WILL and I CAN make a difference one step at a time. Together, we will bring a light to the darkness and we will break the stigma and help create awareness for suicide prevention. Share your story, message, poem, quote, photo or video of hope, struggle or recovery. By sharing your experience, you can let others know that they are not alone.