When I came downstairs this morning it was still a bit dark outside. There was a hint of a chill in the house. Fall may finally be making an appearance and the weather will change, the light will change. The days will grow shorter.
As I look out at the half-darkness this morning I'm thinking about a family in Howard County who have recently lost their child to suicide. This is so heartbreaking. I can't imagine what this kind of a loss is like. I, too, am the parent of a high school student. I know the love I have for her, and the worries, as well. I know the arc of her life so far: precious memories and ambitious hopes for the future.
Suicide destroys all this. The thoughts that whisper, beckon, or demand crowd out both love and reason. It could be a veteran, a member of the LGBTQ community, or a teenager on the brink of adulthood. It could be a sister, a brother, a friend. If we had any way of helping, we would--wouldn't we?
One week from today is the Howard County Out of the Darkness Community Walk at Lake Elkhorn. Registration begins at eleven am; opening ceremony is at one. To learn more about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in Maryland, click here.
What happens to the funds raised from about of the Darkness Walks? 84 per cent go towards programming and research, 16 per cent to fundraising and administration. Some of the programs that AFSP supports locally are the Talk Saves Lives training (they have a Maryland-based trainer) and Survivors of Suicide Loss Day from the AFSP Maryland web site:
The grassroots work we do focuses on eliminating the loss of life from suicide by: delivering innovative prevention programs, educating the public about risk factors and warning signs, raising funds for suicide research and programs, and reaching out to those individuals who have lost someone to suicide.
The days may be getting shorter, and soon we will be feeling the absence of light that comes with the change of season. Maybe we can take some time to push back against the darkness by walking with members of our community and bring a little light back into the world.