Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Did you say "Suicide"?

For the past 6 months I have sat back and watched my sons grieve the death of their good friend, Stephen A. Pronobis. I thought with time it would pass or they would find a way to work through it. I was wrong. Since Stephen's death, Coty has been arrested, expelled from his high school, and progressively sinking farther and farther down. He is angry, he is hurting and although I have him in counseling and I have tried to do whatever I can to help its just doesnt seem to be enough.

I decided I needed to do more, so I found an angel. Dennis Liegghio agreed to come to one of the local high schools and speak about suicide. He brought Jean Larch a fellow founder of to discuss the warning signs, her experiences and her book. Her book is entitled Dying to be free.

Dennis' father committed suicide when he was 14. His last words to his father were all but great, and yet all he remembered. He spent the next 10 years of his life grief stricken, filled with regret and drugs. About the age of 24 he decided to give back, to take his loss and try to give others hope and understanding about that secret word that is only ever really whispered at best.

Dennis coming here was never about me, but I have to say as they spoke and I looked around the room and felt so proud. How could I not? Seriously this duo came to speak to my friends and community about suicide for no other reason than to help us cope. They are a non profit organization that gave so much more than money ever could. They have buttons, CD's, books and shirts with their logo on it all of which are donations only. They did leave some for me because I thought I could sell them for them, as a small way to try to give even more.

What does the logo mean? We have all heard that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but that's just not the way life usually works. We are faced with obstacles and challenges throughout lives and we are forced to take a detour to overcome those obstacles. The logo symbolizes those detours and contains the infinity symbol to represent our journey through life.

When it came to taking Dennis and Jean back to the airport I found my heart aching. I felt sad, like I was saying goodbye to my family. How can it be possible to feel so close to people you only just met? Someone who takes the most tragic and personal situation to happen to his life and share it with perfect strangers to try to help them. How much strength and admiration I feel for this person. I found myself crying (Shocker) while I hugged them goodbye. Then the coolest thing happened. When I gave Jean a hug she told me she would miss me and I could hear the tears in her struggled voice. I had made two more life long friends.

We've all heard the saying "Life is not measured by the amount of breaths we take but about the moments that take our breath away". Well for me this was one of those moments.

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