International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day
November 17, 2018

We invited members of our community who have experienced loss due to suicide to share their stories with us - and we're now honored to share their stories with you. On this day, and every day, we seek to acknowledge and make space for the complexity of love and loss.

For those in Year 1 and those in Year 21 of life after.

What follows are stories of Dinner Partiers who have lost a loved one to suicide. Stories of people who lived, and those who’ve gone on living in their memory. 

Read on, and know this: You are not alone. And together, we’ve got this.

 Tracy | New York   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Bruce   Who were they to you?  My Dad   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  His laugh, his common sense no bullshit attitude.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  Instead of "How did he die" I want people to ask "How did he live?"

Tracy | New York

What’s the name of the person you lost? Bruce

Who were they to you? My Dad

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? His laugh, his common sense no bullshit attitude.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? Instead of "How did he die" I want people to ask "How did he live?"

 Wendy | Illinois   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Andy   Who were they to you?  Partner   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  I miss Every. Single. Thing. From the way he kissed me to his obnoxiously slow driving.   What's something helpful someone did for you after you lost them?  The most helpful thing someone did was just sit with me and listen to me grieve for months and months. I had to cry for hours and say the same things repeatedly in order to process. My friend Hanna was there, steadfastly listening and watching.

Wendy | Illinois

What’s the name of the person you lost? Andy

Who were they to you? Partner

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I miss Every. Single. Thing. From the way he kissed me to his obnoxiously slow driving.

What's something helpful someone did for you after you lost them? The most helpful thing someone did was just sit with me and listen to me grieve for months and months. I had to cry for hours and say the same things repeatedly in order to process. My friend Hanna was there, steadfastly listening and watching.

 Kimberly | Washington   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Nerissa   Who were they to you?  Mother   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  I miss her all embracing hug & big, teethy grin. I don't miss the way she so frequently interrupted me when I spoke.

Kimberly | Washington

What’s the name of the person you lost? Nerissa

Who were they to you? Mother

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I miss her all embracing hug & big, teethy grin. I don't miss the way she so frequently interrupted me when I spoke.

 Lindsay | Washington D.C.   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Malini   Who were they to you?  Best Friend   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  Her laugh & sense of humor   What is your favorite memory of them?  Running to give me a giant hug on my first day at a new school

Lindsay | Washington D.C.

What’s the name of the person you lost? Malini

Who were they to you? Best Friend

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? Her laugh & sense of humor

What is your favorite memory of them? Running to give me a giant hug on my first day at a new school

 Princess | New York   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Kelvin   Who were they to you?  Brother   What is your favorite memory of them?  Him coming home from the hospital and me crying that I wasn’t the baby anymore   What's something helpful someone did for you after you lost them?  Tell me it is ok to be angry at him.

Princess | New York

What’s the name of the person you lost? Kelvin

Who were they to you? Brother

What is your favorite memory of them? Him coming home from the hospital and me crying that I wasn’t the baby anymore

What's something helpful someone did for you after you lost them? Tell me it is ok to be angry at him.

 Victoria | Georgia   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Boris   Who were they to you?  Partner   What is your favorite memory of them?  Too many to choose one! But one of my favorite memories is when I gave him a cat for Valentine's Day in 2009. She became his very best friend and now she lives with me.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  I wish people would ask about him as a person more--like his hopes and dreams, interests, etc. He had a really bright future ahead and him and the world lost that. It is incredibly sad, but it is helpful for me to remember him for his amazing qualities, not just remember how he died.

Victoria | Georgia

What’s the name of the person you lost? Boris

Who were they to you? Partner

What is your favorite memory of them? Too many to choose one! But one of my favorite memories is when I gave him a cat for Valentine's Day in 2009. She became his very best friend and now she lives with me.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I wish people would ask about him as a person more--like his hopes and dreams, interests, etc. He had a really bright future ahead and him and the world lost that. It is incredibly sad, but it is helpful for me to remember him for his amazing qualities, not just remember how he died.

 Kelly | Louisiana   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Shane   Who were they to you?  Brother   What is your favorite memory of them?  Sitting on a jetty in Jamaica, drinking Red Stripe and getting silly, he crowned me the slow buffalo of the family and told me he'd always protect me.

Kelly | Louisiana

What’s the name of the person you lost? Shane

Who were they to you? Brother

What is your favorite memory of them? Sitting on a jetty in Jamaica, drinking Red Stripe and getting silly, he crowned me the slow buffalo of the family and told me he'd always protect me.

 Mandy | Wisconsin   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Ben   Who were they to you?  Brother   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  I miss knowing him and seeing him at all of our family functions. I miss not having him there for my sister's wedding.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  I think people don't want to bring up my brother and the loss because they think I'm doing ok and they don't want to make me sad. But I want to tell people that Ben is always on my mind. And instead of making me sad, it'd make me feel less alone (and less like a crazy person) if people just asked about it.

Mandy | Wisconsin

What’s the name of the person you lost? Ben

Who were they to you? Brother

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I miss knowing him and seeing him at all of our family functions. I miss not having him there for my sister's wedding.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I think people don't want to bring up my brother and the loss because they think I'm doing ok and they don't want to make me sad. But I want to tell people that Ben is always on my mind. And instead of making me sad, it'd make me feel less alone (and less like a crazy person) if people just asked about it.

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Allison | Washington D.C.

What’s the name of the person you lost? Kristen

Who were they to you? Sister

What's something helpful someone did for you after you lost them? Allow me to cry.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I wish people would ask more about her struggle and why it was so hard.

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Catherine | California

What’s the name of the person you lost? Alexandra

Who were they to you? Sister

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? Being about to call her to talk about absolutely anything. I miss having dinner "together" over FaceTime. I miss hearing her play with my kids, asking questions about them, and seeing how much she really loved and cared for them. I miss her advice and her wisdom. I miss her silly, hyper energy. I miss watching her dance.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I wish people asked me more about her life, including her last few months.

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Olivia | New York

What’s the name of the person you lost? Albert

Who were they to you? Dad

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? His flannel plaid shirts, the smell of tobacco on him (not great for his health but a Proustian memory for sure).

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I'd love to move past the discomfort of talking about suicide as a cause of death. The sharp gasp that people immediately try to hide, the feeling that I then have to take care of them for bringing up the topic. I wish people would simply ask more in general and be comfortable with understanding the whys of suicide versus participating in its continued stigmatization.

 Jamie | California   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Dan   Who were they to you?  Brother   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  I miss everything about my brother. His voice, his smile, his hugs, his "I love yous." I miss seeing him in my parents house when I go home. I miss the way life was before he died. I miss who my mother and father were before they lost their only son. I miss spending time with my brother and sister together. I miss family vacations. I miss not knowing what it was like to feel pain like this. I miss not being in this grief club that nobody wanted to be in. I miss my brother.   Is there anything else you wish people would not ask?  Don't tell me how strong I am. I'm not strong, I'm just doing what I have to do to get through. Telling me I'm strong makes me feel worse. Also, don't ask "What can I do?" or "Let me know if there's anything I can do." In the aftermath of a loved one to suicide, you don't know what you want or not - and you're not going to ask someone to do it - just do SOMETHING - bring over food, do their laundry, sit with them, take them to get their nails done, cry with them.

Jamie | California

What’s the name of the person you lost? Dan

Who were they to you? Brother

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I miss everything about my brother. His voice, his smile, his hugs, his "I love yous." I miss seeing him in my parents house when I go home. I miss the way life was before he died. I miss who my mother and father were before they lost their only son. I miss spending time with my brother and sister together. I miss family vacations. I miss not knowing what it was like to feel pain like this. I miss not being in this grief club that nobody wanted to be in. I miss my brother.

Is there anything else you wish people would not ask? Don't tell me how strong I am. I'm not strong, I'm just doing what I have to do to get through. Telling me I'm strong makes me feel worse. Also, don't ask "What can I do?" or "Let me know if there's anything I can do." In the aftermath of a loved one to suicide, you don't know what you want or not - and you're not going to ask someone to do it - just do SOMETHING - bring over food, do their laundry, sit with them, take them to get their nails done, cry with them.

 Katey | California   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Bobby   Who were they to you?  Brother   What is your favorite memory of them?  Bobby was always quite the prankster with a sense of humor, and my favorite memory of him would have to be the fun chaos that we did on our Leibrandt family vacations. From family trips to our cabin in Wisconsin, or to beach house in Florida, we always had the best time as a group with all my siblings (there were 6 of us!). Bobby was always the entertainer, always coming up with original ideas to make things fun or interesting, and also always wanting to make us all laugh. There was never a dull moment during our family vacations, and the memories I have all of us doing fun, adventurous activities together by day, and then making funny videos with our dad's video camera by night, will always shine brightly when I look back on our time together growing up.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  I wish others knew that even though it has been many years since Bobby's suicide (14 years), that grief and pain of his loss is still very much a battle I fight on an ongoing basis. I always appreciate when others continue to reach out to say they are thinking of him or share a memory with me, or offer their support outside of the anniversary date. Even though time and life continues to pass us by, the kindness of others reaching out to offer support will always be appreciated more than you know--whether you knew the person that died or not.

Katey | California

What’s the name of the person you lost? Bobby

Who were they to you? Brother

What is your favorite memory of them? Bobby was always quite the prankster with a sense of humor, and my favorite memory of him would have to be the fun chaos that we did on our Leibrandt family vacations. From family trips to our cabin in Wisconsin, or to beach house in Florida, we always had the best time as a group with all my siblings (there were 6 of us!). Bobby was always the entertainer, always coming up with original ideas to make things fun or interesting, and also always wanting to make us all laugh. There was never a dull moment during our family vacations, and the memories I have all of us doing fun, adventurous activities together by day, and then making funny videos with our dad's video camera by night, will always shine brightly when I look back on our time together growing up.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I wish others knew that even though it has been many years since Bobby's suicide (14 years), that grief and pain of his loss is still very much a battle I fight on an ongoing basis. I always appreciate when others continue to reach out to say they are thinking of him or share a memory with me, or offer their support outside of the anniversary date. Even though time and life continues to pass us by, the kindness of others reaching out to offer support will always be appreciated more than you know--whether you knew the person that died or not.

 Trevor | New York   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Nicholas   Who were they to you?  Brother   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  I miss his goofy sense of humor and hearing him talk about engines and things I didn't understand but he had such a passion for.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  I just wish people would ask more about him or about how the family is doing in dealing with his death. People are afraid to talk about death, and especially suicide.

Trevor | New York

What’s the name of the person you lost? Nicholas

Who were they to you? Brother

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I miss his goofy sense of humor and hearing him talk about engines and things I didn't understand but he had such a passion for.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I just wish people would ask more about him or about how the family is doing in dealing with his death. People are afraid to talk about death, and especially suicide.

 Lindsay | Washington D.C.   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Paul   Who were they to you?  My daddy   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  I miss that he was my number one encourager, and how he made me feel like anything is possible. I miss his sense of humor (which he shared proudly) and his sensitivity (which he sometimes tried to hide). I don't miss the pain of our misunderstandings.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  I wish people would ask questions, period. One of the most painful things is not having many opportunities to talk about my dad. People think that bringing it up will only exacerbate sadness. Sometimes, I do want to express grief. But sometimes there are beautiful memories that I want to share and celebrate, so that they won't be forgotten.

Lindsay | Washington D.C.

What’s the name of the person you lost? Paul

Who were they to you? My daddy

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I miss that he was my number one encourager, and how he made me feel like anything is possible. I miss his sense of humor (which he shared proudly) and his sensitivity (which he sometimes tried to hide). I don't miss the pain of our misunderstandings.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I wish people would ask questions, period. One of the most painful things is not having many opportunities to talk about my dad. People think that bringing it up will only exacerbate sadness. Sometimes, I do want to express grief. But sometimes there are beautiful memories that I want to share and celebrate, so that they won't be forgotten.

 Jessie | California   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Stephen   Who were they to you?  My father   What is your favorite memory of them?  He was always a "yes" man, agreeing to go to concerts and music festivals with me. He even one time decided to sell beer at a music festival, which really encapsulated his Larry David–esque personality.   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  I miss his advice. He was a good listener and was always cheering me on, from my move to California to job prospects to even writing a book, which I signed a contract to do a week before his passing.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  I wish that people would continue to ask about how I'm feeling after his loss. Just because he died almost two years ago doesn't mean that I'm in any less sad about it. I've managed to cope with it, but talking about him from time to time would be nice.   Read more about Jessie’s story.

Jessie | California

What’s the name of the person you lost? Stephen

Who were they to you? My father

What is your favorite memory of them? He was always a "yes" man, agreeing to go to concerts and music festivals with me. He even one time decided to sell beer at a music festival, which really encapsulated his Larry David–esque personality.

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I miss his advice. He was a good listener and was always cheering me on, from my move to California to job prospects to even writing a book, which I signed a contract to do a week before his passing.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I wish that people would continue to ask about how I'm feeling after his loss. Just because he died almost two years ago doesn't mean that I'm in any less sad about it. I've managed to cope with it, but talking about him from time to time would be nice.

Read more about Jessie’s story.

 Georgia | Massachusetts   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Gensei   Who were they to you?  Best Friend   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  I miss us playing cribbage together. It was a game that we both grew up with, and we played it all the time with each other. Gensei told me once that he preferred it when I won, because he liked to see how happy it made me.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  I wish people would ask about my friend in general. He was not a family member, so he doesn’t usually come up in conversation when people ask me about myself. For that reason, my love for him, and my pain around his loss, feels largely invisible to the outside world.   Is there anything you wish people would not ask?  I feel like questions are good in general. The things that I don’t like are when people give me answers for how they make sense out of suicide, rather than asking me about my own experience and listening as a kind and attentive friend.

Georgia | Massachusetts

What’s the name of the person you lost? Gensei

Who were they to you? Best Friend

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I miss us playing cribbage together. It was a game that we both grew up with, and we played it all the time with each other. Gensei told me once that he preferred it when I won, because he liked to see how happy it made me.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I wish people would ask about my friend in general. He was not a family member, so he doesn’t usually come up in conversation when people ask me about myself. For that reason, my love for him, and my pain around his loss, feels largely invisible to the outside world.

Is there anything you wish people would not ask? I feel like questions are good in general. The things that I don’t like are when people give me answers for how they make sense out of suicide, rather than asking me about my own experience and listening as a kind and attentive friend.

 Sydney | Italy   What’s the name of the person you lost?  AJ   Who were they to you?  He is my little brother, and forever will be.   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  I would give anything for one more big bear hug, and a goofy chuckle.   Is there anything you wish people would not ask?  When someone tells you they lost a loved one to suicide, please do not say "And you had no idea?!" -- This is not helpful or supportive. It is accusatory and only makes a person feel bad. As if they either could/should have prevented it or they didn't know the person well enough to recognize their struggle.

Sydney | Italy

What’s the name of the person you lost? AJ

Who were they to you? He is my little brother, and forever will be.

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I would give anything for one more big bear hug, and a goofy chuckle.

Is there anything you wish people would not ask? When someone tells you they lost a loved one to suicide, please do not say "And you had no idea?!" -- This is not helpful or supportive. It is accusatory and only makes a person feel bad. As if they either could/should have prevented it or they didn't know the person well enough to recognize their struggle.

 Marshall | New York   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Mitch   Who were they to you?  Brother   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  His presence around the house.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  I wish people would have the courage to ask - how are you doing? Even if it's been years.

Marshall | New York

What’s the name of the person you lost? Mitch

Who were they to you? Brother

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? His presence around the house.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I wish people would have the courage to ask - how are you doing? Even if it's been years.

 Natalie | New York   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Linda   Who were they to you?  Mother   What is your favorite memory of them?  Dancing around the bedroom listening to Madonna's Greatest Hits.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  What is it like to miss someone who caused you pain?

Natalie | New York

What’s the name of the person you lost? Linda

Who were they to you? Mother

What is your favorite memory of them? Dancing around the bedroom listening to Madonna's Greatest Hits.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? What is it like to miss someone who caused you pain?

 David | Virginia   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Corbin   Who were they to you?  Brother   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  I miss seeing his smile and his sense of humor.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  Instead of "How did he die" I want people to ask "How did he live?"

David | Virginia

What’s the name of the person you lost? Corbin

Who were they to you? Brother

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I miss seeing his smile and his sense of humor.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? Instead of "How did he die" I want people to ask "How did he live?"

 Cheyenne | New York   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Luther   Who were they to you?  Father   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  Not having a father.   Is there anything else you wish people would not ask?  I wish people wouldn't say things like "it's not your fault." I already know that and it's too stereotypical

Cheyenne | New York

What’s the name of the person you lost? Luther

Who were they to you? Father

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? Not having a father.

Is there anything else you wish people would not ask? I wish people wouldn't say things like "it's not your fault." I already know that and it's too stereotypical

 Denisha | California   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Matt   Who were they to you?  Boyfriend   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  His energy   What is your favorite memory of them?  Everything.   Read more about Denisha’s story.

Denisha | California

What’s the name of the person you lost? Matt

Who were they to you? Boyfriend

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? His energy

What is your favorite memory of them? Everything.

Read more about Denisha’s story.

 Valerie | Massachusetts   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Joey   Who were they to you?  Boyfriend   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  I miss his smile and how he was able to find joy in the little things, like taking a bike ride up the street.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  I wish they would ask me to share more about my experiences since Joey died and how I am doing managing them. It's been almost 3.5 years since he passed and I have found the strength needed to rediscover joy and enjoy life again. However, what isn't so visible on the surface is that I continue to have days where I struggle with coping with the loss of someone I love so dearly.

Valerie | Massachusetts

What’s the name of the person you lost? Joey

Who were they to you? Boyfriend

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I miss his smile and how he was able to find joy in the little things, like taking a bike ride up the street.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I wish they would ask me to share more about my experiences since Joey died and how I am doing managing them. It's been almost 3.5 years since he passed and I have found the strength needed to rediscover joy and enjoy life again. However, what isn't so visible on the surface is that I continue to have days where I struggle with coping with the loss of someone I love so dearly.

 Liz | United Kingdom   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Kate   Who were they to you?  Sister   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  Her laugh, her smile, her bossiness.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  It makes me so happy when people ask about who she was, not just how she died.

Liz | United Kingdom

What’s the name of the person you lost? Kate

Who were they to you? Sister

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? Her laugh, her smile, her bossiness.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? It makes me so happy when people ask about who she was, not just how she died.

 Allison | Illinois   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Arnold   Who were they to you?  Father   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  I miss the sound of his laughter. He was one of those people whose voices boom throughout the room. His laughter radiated and you could hear it miles away. I don't miss his temper and emotional mood swings. The manipulation was hard.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  I wish I could properly explain the mix of sadness that he is gone and relief that he is no longer in emotional pain. No one else in our lives saw his mental heath struggles beyond immediate family. No one saw how hard his mental illness was on him and us. So feeling a bit of relief came with immense guilt.

Allison | Illinois

What’s the name of the person you lost? Arnold

Who were they to you? Father

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I miss the sound of his laughter. He was one of those people whose voices boom throughout the room. His laughter radiated and you could hear it miles away. I don't miss his temper and emotional mood swings. The manipulation was hard.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I wish I could properly explain the mix of sadness that he is gone and relief that he is no longer in emotional pain. No one else in our lives saw his mental heath struggles beyond immediate family. No one saw how hard his mental illness was on him and us. So feeling a bit of relief came with immense guilt.

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Dani | California

What’s the name of the person you lost? Bob

Who were they to you? Father

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? It's one and the same. He'd call me almost daily, which drove me nuts. And I miss hearing his voice.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I wish I could talk about my father's suicide without taking all the air out of the room. When people ask "how did he die?" their faces always drop when I say suicide. Don't ask how someone died if you cannot handle the answer. I'm tired of trying to comfort people's discomfort with suicide.

 Chris | Missouri   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Joseph   Who were they to you?  Brother   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  Ohhhh I miss so much about him. I miss his giant smile, and his laugh. His hands and freckly skin (weird, I know, but true). His hug, and smell. The way he really saw people, and made them feel seen. His silliness, and his kindness, his incredibly gentle and open heart. All of it. I miss it all.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  I often find myself wishing that people would ask to know more about what he was like! He was so so so much more than just the way he died, though in a way, even that tells a bit about him. He was himself always, authentic and kind and so present. He was hilarious, such a quick wit, thoughtful, great with kids (our niece and nephews loved him so much). He was constantly questioning, challenging, learning the world around him.. drawn to the dark places too, not one to run from shadow or struggle. He had cancer, and was in remission when he died, but the cancer had become a huge part of how he saw himself. His funeral turned into a party because so many friends showed up and everyone wanted to honor the light that he was in their world- it was so raw and special, just like he was (is?). Anyway, thanks for asking.. :-)

Chris | Missouri

What’s the name of the person you lost? Joseph

Who were they to you? Brother

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? Ohhhh I miss so much about him. I miss his giant smile, and his laugh. His hands and freckly skin (weird, I know, but true). His hug, and smell. The way he really saw people, and made them feel seen. His silliness, and his kindness, his incredibly gentle and open heart. All of it. I miss it all.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I often find myself wishing that people would ask to know more about what he was like! He was so so so much more than just the way he died, though in a way, even that tells a bit about him. He was himself always, authentic and kind and so present. He was hilarious, such a quick wit, thoughtful, great with kids (our niece and nephews loved him so much). He was constantly questioning, challenging, learning the world around him.. drawn to the dark places too, not one to run from shadow or struggle. He had cancer, and was in remission when he died, but the cancer had become a huge part of how he saw himself. His funeral turned into a party because so many friends showed up and everyone wanted to honor the light that he was in their world- it was so raw and special, just like he was (is?). Anyway, thanks for asking.. :-)

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Elizabeth | Pennsylvania

What’s the name of the person you lost? Dean

Who were they to you? Father

What is your favorite memory with them? He would play the guitar and I would sing his favorite songs.

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I miss his hugs.

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Rebecca | Louisiana

What’s the name of the person you lost? Cliff

Who were they to you? Father

What's something helpful someone did for you after you lost them? Allowing me the space to have an identity independent of my loss and that when I lost a friend to suicide a few years later an understanding that you experience grief differently at different times in your life.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? Instead of "How did he die" I want people to ask "How did he live?"

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Skylar | California

What’s the name of the person you lost? Shari

Who were they to you? My Mamma

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? My grieving process has completely reshaped who I am and how I see the world. Fear of the unknown and change are a part of my life now. But I’m also learning to know myself and to love myself. I’m learning to have courage to speak up. My family has a lot of secrets. They never talked about my mom’s mental illness or suicide, and I know she lived with a lot shame around it. I feel that I’m on a journey to live a different way—to speak my truths and to share my story. It feels empowering to take these first steps.

As a young woman, I feel pressure to be quiet, to not take up space, to not live boldly and expressively. I often lack the courage to speak up about what I need. It’s difficult to navigate life’s milestones as a motherless daughter. So I look to other women for inspiration, for their courage, creativity, honesty, strength, and resilience. I am very much my mother’s daughter and I still look to her for guidance. She has given me the gifts of creativity and love. I take that love with me in everything that I do.

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Jennifer | North Carolina

What’s the name of the person you lost? Jeremy

Who were they to you? Brother

What is your favorite memory of them? We were 10 years apart. He was older. I would always get I trouble for messing with him or being bratty. Whenever I go in to trouble I would cry and he always came to rescue. He’d put me in a bean bag chair in his room and I’d fall asleep.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? Not a single day goes by where I don’t think about him and it’s been over 23 years since I’ve lost him.

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Meghan | Washington D.C.

What’s the name of the person you lost? Zane

Who were they to you? Boyfriend

What is your favorite memory of them? It's hard to pick just one, but one of my favorites is his immense care for our cat, who we adopted just a few months before Zane died. He used to talk to Sherlock (our cat) in the sweetest voice while coaxing him to take his medication.

Is there anything else you wish people would not ask? I wish they wouldn't ask about whether there were "warning signs" or if I had any idea that it would happen. It feels as if people are sometimes looking for a sign that I messed up, or a key that I can give them, so they can know that it won't happen to them or someone they love.

 Lucia | Connecticut   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Mark   Who were they to you?  Brother   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  I miss having him physically close and the possibility of having him physically close. There is a way that the bodies of siblings complete each other, and my living brother and I don't have that anymore.   Is there anything else you wish people would not askd?  When people ask about grief they always ask about me -- I wish they would ask me about him

Lucia | Connecticut

What’s the name of the person you lost? Mark

Who were they to you? Brother

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I miss having him physically close and the possibility of having him physically close. There is a way that the bodies of siblings complete each other, and my living brother and I don't have that anymore.

Is there anything else you wish people would not askd? When people ask about grief they always ask about me -- I wish they would ask me about him

 Emily | North Carolina   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Hannah   Who were they to you?  Best Friend/Roommate   What is your favorite memory of them?  One night, we pulled an all-nighter together binge-watching one of our favorite TV shows and then went to Starbucks promptly at 5:30am when it opened. After that, we took our coffee onto the beach to watch the sunrise together. Something about that morning will always be ingrained in my memory - the way the whole world faded away and there was just us, in that moment, laughing and talking and just being. Or maybe it was the way we ran in and out of the ocean and spun around in circles in the sand until we got dizzy and fell over. We acted like we would've as kids at the beach - enthusiastic, joyful, spontaneous, and carefree. Then we sat and dug our toes into the sand and had one of our *fairly-common* deep long talks about life, spirituality, and people. That memory with her is one of my favorites, especially because it's one where she was laughing and full of life and joy and freedom from any pain or struggle. That's who she truly was, and that's how I want to remember her.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  Grief feels very paradoxical, sometimes. When the loss and grief was fresh, I was desperate for there to be a day where the pain wasn't paralyzingly and all-consuming. Then, when that day came, where the grief had not lessened but was softer, I grieved again feeling like it meant I didn't miss her as much and was losing her. I wanted to be able to find a "new-normal," but I also grieve that it's now normal for her to not be here. Because she took her own life and was in pain, I feel guilty, sometimes, over the fact that my grief journey has made me a better person and that I've found my voice and a purpose in it.  All of these conflicted grief feelings are always coming and going and get tangled up in everyday life milestones, growth processes, and life transitions. I will always be grieving her death, sometimes in new ways, because I am always changing. And, especially as I meet new people, people who never knew her, this is something I'd wish for them to know and understand.

Emily | North Carolina

What’s the name of the person you lost? Hannah

Who were they to you? Best Friend/Roommate

What is your favorite memory of them? One night, we pulled an all-nighter together binge-watching one of our favorite TV shows and then went to Starbucks promptly at 5:30am when it opened. After that, we took our coffee onto the beach to watch the sunrise together. Something about that morning will always be ingrained in my memory - the way the whole world faded away and there was just us, in that moment, laughing and talking and just being. Or maybe it was the way we ran in and out of the ocean and spun around in circles in the sand until we got dizzy and fell over. We acted like we would've as kids at the beach - enthusiastic, joyful, spontaneous, and carefree. Then we sat and dug our toes into the sand and had one of our *fairly-common* deep long talks about life, spirituality, and people. That memory with her is one of my favorites, especially because it's one where she was laughing and full of life and joy and freedom from any pain or struggle. That's who she truly was, and that's how I want to remember her.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? Grief feels very paradoxical, sometimes. When the loss and grief was fresh, I was desperate for there to be a day where the pain wasn't paralyzingly and all-consuming. Then, when that day came, where the grief had not lessened but was softer, I grieved again feeling like it meant I didn't miss her as much and was losing her. I wanted to be able to find a "new-normal," but I also grieve that it's now normal for her to not be here. Because she took her own life and was in pain, I feel guilty, sometimes, over the fact that my grief journey has made me a better person and that I've found my voice and a purpose in it.

All of these conflicted grief feelings are always coming and going and get tangled up in everyday life milestones, growth processes, and life transitions. I will always be grieving her death, sometimes in new ways, because I am always changing. And, especially as I meet new people, people who never knew her, this is something I'd wish for them to know and understand.

 Karen | Montana   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Beverly, Kevin, and Howard   Who were they to you?  Mother, Brother, Grandfather   What is your favorite memory of them?  Mother – playing music, Brother – His caring nature, Grandfather – his steadfast approach.   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  Mother- having a mother’s love & guidance, Brother – always having a best friend, Grandfather – someone to ask advice.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  It’s just nice to talk about them at all. People in my life now didn’t know them well or at all.

Karen | Montana

What’s the name of the person you lost? Beverly, Kevin, and Howard

Who were they to you? Mother, Brother, Grandfather

What is your favorite memory of them? Mother – playing music, Brother – His caring nature, Grandfather – his steadfast approach.

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? Mother- having a mother’s love & guidance, Brother – always having a best friend, Grandfather – someone to ask advice.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? It’s just nice to talk about them at all. People in my life now didn’t know them well or at all.

 Brittney | California   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Derek   Who were they to you?  Brother   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  His humor, quirkiness, sarcasm, creativity, ability to make people laugh, he has many facebook videos doing comedy performances, he also loved vinegar, Krispy Kreme Donuts, doing impressions of people and being the mediator in our family.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  Since his death in 2015, I have found being involved in organizations like the Dinner Party has helped in dealing with the grief. Also for the last 2 years I have been a weekly trained volunteer for the Crisis Line, answering Suicide, TALK, Crisis, and Grief calls in Contra Costa County. I also found that walking in the Out of the Darkness Walks for Suicide Awareness was a good way to raise money for the cause while telling people about my story and reducing the stigma around talking about suicide.

Brittney | California

What’s the name of the person you lost? Derek

Who were they to you? Brother

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? His humor, quirkiness, sarcasm, creativity, ability to make people laugh, he has many facebook videos doing comedy performances, he also loved vinegar, Krispy Kreme Donuts, doing impressions of people and being the mediator in our family.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? Since his death in 2015, I have found being involved in organizations like the Dinner Party has helped in dealing with the grief. Also for the last 2 years I have been a weekly trained volunteer for the Crisis Line, answering Suicide, TALK, Crisis, and Grief calls in Contra Costa County. I also found that walking in the Out of the Darkness Walks for Suicide Awareness was a good way to raise money for the cause while telling people about my story and reducing the stigma around talking about suicide.

 Jenelle | New York   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Paul   Who were they to you?  Father   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  I miss not being able to share my life with him - milestones, accomplishments, laughs. I miss his hug, love, and support. He was always so proud of me.

Jenelle | New York

What’s the name of the person you lost? Paul

Who were they to you? Father

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I miss not being able to share my life with him - milestones, accomplishments, laughs. I miss his hug, love, and support. He was always so proud of me.

 Krystle | Texas   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Daniel   Who were they to you?  Partner   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  I miss everything, particularly his smile.   What is your favorite memory of them?  Our first date!

Krystle | Texas

What’s the name of the person you lost? Daniel

Who were they to you? Partner

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I miss everything, particularly his smile.

What is your favorite memory of them? Our first date!

 Poppy | United Kingdom   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Andy   Who were they to you?  Partner   What is your favorite memory of them?  Andy used to hug me anytime he was bored and I was busy cooking and I'd have to turn all the hobs off to prevent the food from burning, and turn around and hug him right back.   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  I miss cuddling in the morning and the way he used to look at me.

Poppy | United Kingdom

What’s the name of the person you lost? Andy

Who were they to you? Partner

What is your favorite memory of them? Andy used to hug me anytime he was bored and I was busy cooking and I'd have to turn all the hobs off to prevent the food from burning, and turn around and hug him right back.

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I miss cuddling in the morning and the way he used to look at me.

 Lauren | Texas   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Christopher   Who were they to you?  Brother   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  I wish people would ask more about him as an individual and not just his accomplishments (he was heavily involved in college).   What is your favorite memory of them?  We had just moved into the same house together in college after losing our dad (our only living parent) it was a hard day of driving 5 hours literally right after the funeral. we somehow kept in good spirits and felt lighter knowing our dad was finally pain free. the best part is after we finished unpacking we were relaxing in the living room and he fell asleep mid-sentence with our 90lb lab in his lap.

Lauren | Texas

What’s the name of the person you lost? Christopher

Who were they to you? Brother

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I wish people would ask more about him as an individual and not just his accomplishments (he was heavily involved in college).

What is your favorite memory of them? We had just moved into the same house together in college after losing our dad (our only living parent) it was a hard day of driving 5 hours literally right after the funeral. we somehow kept in good spirits and felt lighter knowing our dad was finally pain free. the best part is after we finished unpacking we were relaxing in the living room and he fell asleep mid-sentence with our 90lb lab in his lap.

 Tali | New York   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Henry   Who were they to you?  Father   What is your favorite memory of them?  It's hard to pick just one. Whenever there was a celebration in our community, my dad would be the life of the party. We would dance like crazy all night long and more than wanting just have fun, he wanted people to feel celebrated. On Friday nights, we would host 20-30 people for Shabbat dinner. He would greet everyone and ask them about themselves. If someone spilled something, he would spill his glass so they wouldn't be embarrassed.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  I wish people would just ask anything or not look surprised or uncomfortable when I bring up a funny memory. I wish people asked to hear more instead of just waiting for me to finish talking. It's also ok to ask about the way he died or to mention suicide. Mentioning "suicide" shouldn't be a conversation ender, its an invitation into my experience.

Tali | New York

What’s the name of the person you lost? Henry

Who were they to you? Father

What is your favorite memory of them? It's hard to pick just one. Whenever there was a celebration in our community, my dad would be the life of the party. We would dance like crazy all night long and more than wanting just have fun, he wanted people to feel celebrated. On Friday nights, we would host 20-30 people for Shabbat dinner. He would greet everyone and ask them about themselves. If someone spilled something, he would spill his glass so they wouldn't be embarrassed.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I wish people would just ask anything or not look surprised or uncomfortable when I bring up a funny memory. I wish people asked to hear more instead of just waiting for me to finish talking. It's also ok to ask about the way he died or to mention suicide. Mentioning "suicide" shouldn't be a conversation ender, its an invitation into my experience.

 Grace | Washington   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Tom   Who were they to you?  Father   What is your favorite memory of them?  I think of new ones every day, today it is how he used to make up scary stories on the ski lift .   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  I wish I could properly explain the mix of sadness that he is gone and relief that he is no longer in emotional pain. No one else in our lives saw his mental heath struggles beyond immediate family. No one saw how hard his mental illness was on him and us. So feeling a bit of relief came with immense guilt.

Grace | Washington

What’s the name of the person you lost? Tom

Who were they to you? Father

What is your favorite memory of them? I think of new ones every day, today it is how he used to make up scary stories on the ski lift .

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I wish I could properly explain the mix of sadness that he is gone and relief that he is no longer in emotional pain. No one else in our lives saw his mental heath struggles beyond immediate family. No one saw how hard his mental illness was on him and us. So feeling a bit of relief came with immense guilt.

 Hope | New York   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Shay   Who were they to you?  Sister   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  Her laugh and her singing voice, the way she played the banjo so beautifully and with such joy.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  I wish people would realize that it's still painful weeks and months later. I want to talk about her, I want to be asked about her. I don't want it to be a forbidden topic. I wish people would stop saying "committed suicide" but would say "died by suicide."

Hope | New York

What’s the name of the person you lost? Shay

Who were they to you? Sister

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? Her laugh and her singing voice, the way she played the banjo so beautifully and with such joy.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I wish people would realize that it's still painful weeks and months later. I want to talk about her, I want to be asked about her. I don't want it to be a forbidden topic. I wish people would stop saying "committed suicide" but would say "died by suicide."

 Hilarie | California   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Lindsay   Who were they to you?  Brother   What is your favorite memory of them?  Lindsay was 15 years older than me and decades cooler. The moment he introduced Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure to me changed my world and sense of humor forever.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  Suicide isn't something shameful. Life is hard. and complicated. Lindsay ran marathons, traveled around the world, lived in different countries and states. He did more in his 25 years than most people do their entire long lives. This life was too hard for Lindsay but I am OK knowing that maybe whatever his next life is can be easier.

Hilarie | California

What’s the name of the person you lost? Lindsay

Who were they to you? Brother

What is your favorite memory of them? Lindsay was 15 years older than me and decades cooler. The moment he introduced Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure to me changed my world and sense of humor forever.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? Suicide isn't something shameful. Life is hard. and complicated. Lindsay ran marathons, traveled around the world, lived in different countries and states. He did more in his 25 years than most people do their entire long lives. This life was too hard for Lindsay but I am OK knowing that maybe whatever his next life is can be easier.

 Sarah | Illinois   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Joe   Who were they to you?  Sibling   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  His smile, quiet wit, and patience.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  I wish people would ask "why" do you think he felt he had to end his life, because it's important to have the conversation about someone seemingly happy and healthy can really be struggling and trapped in their own mind.

Sarah | Illinois

What’s the name of the person you lost? Joe

Who were they to you? Sibling

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? His smile, quiet wit, and patience.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I wish people would ask "why" do you think he felt he had to end his life, because it's important to have the conversation about someone seemingly happy and healthy can really be struggling and trapped in their own mind.

 Catie | Illinois   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Bill   Who were they to you?  Father   What is your favorite memory with them?  He used to bring me cut up fruit while I was working on something in my room and draw doodles on Post-It notes.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  Suicide is an incredibly isolating experience and I felt the distance and fear of it from friends or new acquaintances after my father died. I wish people would have asked about it; I wish they would have not been afraid of it.

Catie | Illinois

What’s the name of the person you lost? Bill

Who were they to you? Father

What is your favorite memory with them? He used to bring me cut up fruit while I was working on something in my room and draw doodles on Post-It notes.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? Suicide is an incredibly isolating experience and I felt the distance and fear of it from friends or new acquaintances after my father died. I wish people would have asked about it; I wish they would have not been afraid of it.

 Vidhisha | New York   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Mohit   Who were they to you?  Brother   What is your favorite memory of them?  Playing the most annoying Indian songs the moment I step out of the shower!   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  I would like to share that you must always keep talking about your loved one. Even if they are not physically present with you still, they are a part of my life and I do not want other people who still have the other living family member to forget that. Just because somebody is passed away does not mean they are ever fully gone.

Vidhisha | New York

What’s the name of the person you lost? Mohit

Who were they to you? Brother

What is your favorite memory of them? Playing the most annoying Indian songs the moment I step out of the shower!

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I would like to share that you must always keep talking about your loved one. Even if they are not physically present with you still, they are a part of my life and I do not want other people who still have the other living family member to forget that. Just because somebody is passed away does not mean they are ever fully gone.

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Jess | Washington D.C.

What’s the name of the person you lost? Aimee

Who were they to you? Best Friend

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I miss how she challenged me and made me think, in her own quiet way. I miss her creativity and genius. I don't miss how I pushed her away when she made decisions I didn't like.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? My lack of awareness of or education on depression and mental illness as a young person made me unprepared to give my friend the support she needed when she needed it. I wish people were more open about these topics with children when it matters and affects their lives.

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Regina | Arizona

What’s the name of the person you lost? George

Who were they to you? Uncle

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I miss his laugh, it boomed and filled a room, everyone wanted to know what was funny and typically it was only him who knew

What is your favorite memory of them? Driving late at night to go and buy CDs at Tower Records.

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Rosemarie | California

What’s the name of the person you lost? Mike

Who were they to you? Husband

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? Everything. I miss how the corners of his eyes crinkled when he smiled. His quiet laugh. His quieter evil jokes. His heartbeat. His arms around me. His love for travel, music, food, photography, and adventure. His voracious appetite for books. How he would work on his laptop while I watched bad tv just so he could be in a room with me. His beautiful singing voice. Holding his hand all the time. Our own fashion show in Banana Republic fitting rooms. Making amazing dinners together. Playing soccer together. Waking up with him every morning. How he'd leave coffee ready for me even though he left earlier. His passion for supporting local farms. How he could fix or build anything. His willingness to always help friends. The way he loved his niece and family. The way he loved me.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I wish people who didn't get to meet him had even the slightest bit of understanding of how perfect we were for each other. I hope that the people who did know us together never forget him. I wish people knew how badly it still hurts, how much I miss him, and how this will stay with me forever.

 Elizabeth | New York   What’s the name of the person you lost?  Marianna   Who were they to you?  Mother   What do you miss (or not miss) about them?  I miss being parented. Since my mom died, so many women in my life have stepped up in a very maternal way. I'm very lucky in that I have people to call when I need advice or am having a tough day. But there are boundaries within those relationships that don't exist between a parent and a child. I miss unsolicited guidance. I miss being able to really roll my eyes at someone because they said something "annoying". I miss having a grown up to make the tough decisions for me. I really, really miss having a mom that is mine.  However, I don't miss parenting my parent. So much of the last few years - and especially months - of my mom's life felt like care taking and hyperawareness and fear. Her mental health was in disarray and every day felt like it could be the last day. In some ways, when the last day finally happened it felt a bit like relief. But relief for an enormous, unbelievably painful price.    Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  I wish people would ask me what the experience of losing someone to suicide is like for me - as an individual with my own thoughts and opinions - without making broad assumptions. It isn't helpful (to me, at least!) to voice how you think I might feel about the choice my mom made and how that choice has impacted my life. Losing someone you love to suicide is complex and layered. And those complexities and layers change all the time, probably forever. There are times I have felt guilty and wondered if I could have done more, and times I feel very sure that I did all I could have done as the 19 year old version of who I was when my mom ended her life. I have felt angry and not angry, shock and not shocked. I have felt close to my mom and very far away from her. It took me until a year ago - eight years after my mom died - to have a lightbulb moment that my obsessive workaholic behavior and extreme exhaustion were likely very much related to grief. Trauma takes its sweet, sweet time. I wish people kept asking what that time has felt like.

Elizabeth | New York

What’s the name of the person you lost? Marianna

Who were they to you? Mother

What do you miss (or not miss) about them? I miss being parented. Since my mom died, so many women in my life have stepped up in a very maternal way. I'm very lucky in that I have people to call when I need advice or am having a tough day. But there are boundaries within those relationships that don't exist between a parent and a child. I miss unsolicited guidance. I miss being able to really roll my eyes at someone because they said something "annoying". I miss having a grown up to make the tough decisions for me. I really, really miss having a mom that is mine.

However, I don't miss parenting my parent. So much of the last few years - and especially months - of my mom's life felt like care taking and hyperawareness and fear. Her mental health was in disarray and every day felt like it could be the last day. In some ways, when the last day finally happened it felt a bit like relief. But relief for an enormous, unbelievably painful price.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? I wish people would ask me what the experience of losing someone to suicide is like for me - as an individual with my own thoughts and opinions - without making broad assumptions. It isn't helpful (to me, at least!) to voice how you think I might feel about the choice my mom made and how that choice has impacted my life. Losing someone you love to suicide is complex and layered. And those complexities and layers change all the time, probably forever. There are times I have felt guilty and wondered if I could have done more, and times I feel very sure that I did all I could have done as the 19 year old version of who I was when my mom ended her life. I have felt angry and not angry, shock and not shocked. I have felt close to my mom and very far away from her. It took me until a year ago - eight years after my mom died - to have a lightbulb moment that my obsessive workaholic behavior and extreme exhaustion were likely very much related to grief. Trauma takes its sweet, sweet time. I wish people kept asking what that time has felt like.

 Jonelle | Washington D.C.   What’s the name of the person you lost?  John   Who were they to you?  Dad.   Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share?  To remember my dad, I would like to share a few of the ways he formed who I am. First, my dad loved music. Rhythm flowed through his veins and he craved a good beat. Because of him, I love music. I admire the artistic creation it takes, I savor the authenticity of live performance, and I dance to music that moves me. Second, he loved the outdoors. My dad was not religious but I think he found the woods a place of solace, of rest, of recovery, like his own form of church. I think this is why he took our family camping so often. Today, my brother and I take trips together to camp and hike, and every time I go to the woods I feel like I'm going home. Third, my dad didn't believe in half-efforts, and encouraged me to give my all to everything I tried. He dignified my work, and because of him I believe all hard and good-natured work has dignity. Fourth, my dad taught my brother and I from an early age to be aware of our surroundings. More specifically, he would tell us to pay attention when people were trying to move around us in the grocery store aisle, and I eventually lost count of how many times he held the door open for someone behind us at the bank. These daily actions he took seem small on their own, but they add up. I credit my dad with the foundations of my awareness of the way my actions affect the world around me.   These four things are just four of many more. I miss my dad. Living out the best parts of him feels like the best way to honor his life.

Jonelle | Washington D.C.

What’s the name of the person you lost? John

Who were they to you? Dad.

Is there anything else you wish people would ask or that you'd like to share? To remember my dad, I would like to share a few of the ways he formed who I am. First, my dad loved music. Rhythm flowed through his veins and he craved a good beat. Because of him, I love music. I admire the artistic creation it takes, I savor the authenticity of live performance, and I dance to music that moves me. Second, he loved the outdoors. My dad was not religious but I think he found the woods a place of solace, of rest, of recovery, like his own form of church. I think this is why he took our family camping so often. Today, my brother and I take trips together to camp and hike, and every time I go to the woods I feel like I'm going home. Third, my dad didn't believe in half-efforts, and encouraged me to give my all to everything I tried. He dignified my work, and because of him I believe all hard and good-natured work has dignity. Fourth, my dad taught my brother and I from an early age to be aware of our surroundings. More specifically, he would tell us to pay attention when people were trying to move around us in the grocery store aisle, and I eventually lost count of how many times he held the door open for someone behind us at the bank. These daily actions he took seem small on their own, but they add up. I credit my dad with the foundations of my awareness of the way my actions affect the world around me.

These four things are just four of many more. I miss my dad. Living out the best parts of him feels like the best way to honor his life.