On November 1, 1999, a gun shot changed my family forever. My beautiful and beloved Aunt Gail took her life.
Gail was 39 when she died. She was a free spirit, warm and funny. She loved the color purple and her apartment was full of purple things. She was a publicist for NBC and it means a lot to our family that the casts of Friends and Will and Grace cared about her and honored her memory. She is missed by so many.
In the US, 123 people die by suicide each day and for every death, there are more than 10 times that many attempts. Everyone is at risk - our mothers and fathers, our teenagers and children, our neighbors and friends, and especially, our veterans. A US veteran dies by suicide almost every hour of every day.
This leaves 123 families each day to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. I can tell you from experience that this is an impossible task. The pieces never fit together again - there is hole that can never be filled.
In the 18 years since I lost my aunt, not one day goes by where I haven't asked the one question that can never be answered - why?
Finding Samaritans in 2010 was the answer to a prayer. I could never bring back my aunt, but I could prevent other families from experiencing the heartbreak that mine did. Samaritans taught me that By offering community workshops, a 24 hour crisis call or text helpline, and grief support services, Samaritans is saving lives...and we need your help.
As many of you know, I ran the Boston Marathon for Samaritans in 2012. Crossing the finish line with my aunt's initials on my shoes was one of the most meaningful experiences in my life. When I was given the opportunity to once again raise money for this important cause, I jumped at the chance. Thank you so much for your support, love and friendship.
To learn more about Samaritans and suicide prevention, visit us at samaritanshope.org. Feeling hopeless? We're here to listen. Call or text us at 877-870-HOPE (4673).