I wanted to bring the LOSSteam program to Massachusetts in honor of my brother, Dan, who took his own life on March 24, 1980. We lost Dan to suicide when he was a senior in high school. I was only 13 at the time. My mother called me at my best friend’s house after school to tell me that Dan had left a suicide note, and that I should come home. I remember vividly, sitting on my bed hours later doing homework of all things, when the doorbell rang. The police officer stayed for a few minutes and then my mother came in to tell me they had found Dan, and that he was dead.
Time stood still from that moment on. I don’t remember much of what transpired after I heard that life altering news. What I do remember is that my Mom and I were alone. My Dad was at work. My sister was at college. My other brother was outside with our next door neighbors’ kids, not knowing what to do. My mother struggled with bipolar depression and although no parent is prepared for a moment like this, I can’t imagine her mental state provided her with many coping skills.
It took 30 years before I could talk openly about my brother’s suicide. Only my closest friends knew. I believe in my heart that if the police officer who came to our door that day had been accompanied by a LOSSteam, our family’s journey would have been profoundly different.
My deepest hope is for suicide loss survivors to reach out as soon as possible to find the best resources to help them navigate an impossibly devastating loss.
Barbara Brunzell – Chapter Founder & Team Leader