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Todd Waite Legacy Foundation for Suicide Awareness

It was a cold winter evening, one week before Christmas when we got the phone call. My brother-in-law had not arrived home from work and could not be located. Had we seen or heard from him? Did we have any idea where he might be? Knowing that he was suffering from clinical depression, the questions put a chill of fear into our hearts. That fear turned into horrified disbelief when, a few hours later, police found his car parked on the side of the road. He had made the decision to take his own life.

Ever since that dark night 25 years ago, our family has been on a long journey of grief. The first few months of shock turned into anger and then into a sadness that has never gone away. Certainly, time has brought some healing, but waves of grief can wash over us as a song or a memory bring us back to that terrible night.

We searched for support in the Grand Rapids community after our family’s loss, but did not find very many resources available to help us. Friends and acquaintances avoided us and did not want to listen to us or talk with us about our loss because they just didn’t know what to say or how to help.

As I work in the MKD Family Aftercare Services office, I still am overcome with emotion whenever we serve a family whose loved one has completed suicide. I know what those surviving family members will be experiencing as they deal with the questions, with the guilt, with the sadness and horror of their loss.

I was so pleased when MKD became a supporter of the Todd Waite Legacy Foundation for Suicide Awareness. Started by his uncle, Al Gritter, after Todd’s loss to suicide, this website is a place people can go for answers to their questions about suicide; a place to become educated about the warning signs of suicidal behavior; a place that directs grieving family members and friends to help and support in the Grand Rapids area and online.

I am grateful to be able to share this resource with our MKD families who will be taking the same grief journey my family has traveled and pray they will find help and hope.