Posted with permission:
Sometime around the beginning of the year, as the great spiritual funk of 2018 settled in, I learned about Leticia Ochoa Adams, introducing you all to her here.
You can get to know her more on facebook, her website, and on Through Broken Roses on Patheos. In March of 2017 Leticia lost her son Anthony to suicide. Leticia’s posts have been honest, vulnerable, candid, faith-filled. The posts are raw, real, giving others who have lost a loved one to suicide the “permission granted” to experience the anger, sadness, frustration, doubt, hurt of a loss like this. She loves passionately, compassionately, deeply.
Leticia wants to take action, is working on taking action that will offer concrete, family centered support for families dealing with their own lives after a suicide: The Red Door Foundation. This is not an awareness campaign, because quite frankly we’re all aware of suicide, and we don’t always know what to say, how to say it or how to help.
This last week we, as a creative community, lost two “talented, had it all” influencers. These, along with another a few years ago impacted us hard. Watching the comments fly both on social media, and in the reporting none of us could believe either of these individuals took their own lives as they “had it all”, okay; but we were far harder on her, than him. (Lack of names and links is deliberate here.) Sometimes we forget that social media is that permanent record we feared as kids, the internet archive is real, and even when we delete posts often someone’s got a screenshot. With these influencers both taking their own lives suicide once again became the trending topic; and it’s on the back burner once again like so many other trending topics.
This is more than talking about mental illness, psychotic breaks due to medication reactions (this is real), physical pain/illness. These are people, brothers, sisters, mothers, daughters, friends, lovers, spouses for whom we all have a great love for. Their death by suicide rocks the worlds of those left behind to live on without them. Leticia’s blogs on her website, and on Patheos have profoundly told that story. She and her son Gabe are interviewed at the National Catholic Register.
Here’s where we can help:
first, let’s choose our words and responses carefully – people are hurting, aching, deeply saying things like, “oh so and so is at peace now” or “they’re in heaven now” (we don’t know either one of these things)
second, help Leticia get The Red Door Foundation off the ground. There is a need to get the domain name, then file as a 501(c)3. The simplest thing to do is donate toward this cause. If I do this right this is a link to her “make a donation” button on her website. The last time she posted the need is somewhere around $3000.00 to purchase the domain, and hire the attorney to file all of the appropriate paperwork. Of course there will be other financial needs for the foundation itself, for the work, for the support of the families.
third, read her blogs they are profound and give a framework for having good, healthy conversations about suicide
fourth, pray for the families this is essential, prayers for Leticia, her kids, and grandkids – this loss will be experienced for a long time
fifth, check in with people, don’t ask them to reach out to you if they are having suicidal ideation if people are feeling that they are not worthy and that we’d be better off without them they are not necessarily going to reach out for help.
This is the what I can do in this moment – telling, sharing the story and letting God speak to your heart.