When my oldest son Patrick died of suicide 2-1/2 years ago, my family and I were forever changed in ways we never could have imagined. In the immediate moments after we found his body, we experienced a most desperate despair as the enormity and finality of his horrible, violent death hit home.
Our world had stopped. It felt like a hand grenade had been tossed into my family and exploded. It killed my son and left the rest of us stunned, numb, and struggling to survive. The confusion and questions that will never be answered gnawed at us as we dealt with the loss of my handsome, loving son. As time went by, I began to take ownership of his death. As a father, I felt as if I had not done enough for him or I wasn’t there for him in his desperate time of need. I didn’t know he was hurting so badly that he thought the only answer to his pain was to cease to exist and leave his beautiful 3 year-old son, siblings, and parents behind.
I now had to focus on helping my other children, wife and Patrick’s mother. Most of all, I had to be there for my grandson who was now going to grow up without his adoring and loving father. We had to figure out how to move forward and find meaning and purpose in our own lives again.
After some months when I began to emerge from that numbing fog and see my next few steps more clearly, I found the most critical component of my journey back into the world: I found the Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors.
The Alliance of Hope is nonprofit organization that provides hope and healing in the aftermath of suicide. They offer online services that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including a community forum that hosts thousands of compassionate people who are survivors of suicide loss.
Through this community, I was able to learn that I’m not at fault. That probably no one but my son and God will ever truly understand his death, and that’s ok. That there is no “right way” or “wrong way” to grieve. That nobody grieves in the same manner or on the same timetable. These and other topics helped me begin my own healing journey—and in the process, helped my whole family begin their journey of recovery.
Eventually I joined the Alliance of Hope as a forum moderator in an effort to give back some of what I have been given to fellow survivors who arrive there every day, raw with grief.
Now I have joined the Champions for Hope Campaign. This is a campaign to raise important funding so the Alliance of Hope can continue to help people survive the loss of a loved one to suicide. I have set a personal goal to raise $2,000, and am doing this in Patrick’s memory.
If you can—will you please help me by donating?
It's easy to do -simply click on the orange DONATE button above to the right side.You can also send a check made out to Alliance of Hope and mail to: Alliance of Hope, PO Box 7005, Evanston, IL 60201. Please write “In memory of Patrick Shannon” in the memo line so the amount will credited correctly.
In the United States alone, 4.7 million people are profoundly impacted by suicide loss. Those left behind are catapaulted onto a challenging grief journey.
Many who have experienced suicide loss say they never knew such pain existed. In fact, adult survivors are nearly 10 times more likely to become suicidal themselves.
You can help them receive access to skilled support and life-saving resources by contributing to the Alliance of Hope (AOH). Through a combination of online support, community forums, and individualized consultations, AOH helps people survive the overwhelming despair and trauma of a loved ones’ suicide, heal, and resume productive lives.
Since 2008, thousands of survivors have benefited from AOH's free services. Many call AOH "my lifeline."
Please give as generously as you can:
$30 ~ Funds 30-Minute Consultation for New Survivor
$60 ~ Funds 1 Survivor Counseling Session
$120 ~ Funds 2 Survivor Counseling Sessions
$365 ~ Sponsors AOH's Clinically Moderated Forum for 1 Day
$1000 ~ Sponsors AOH's Forum for 3 Days
Thank you for considering donating.
Warm regards, Steve