Barb was the youngest of four girls: a daughter, sister, wife and then mother. Grandma, a cherished title she would wear proudly. Aunt, great-aunt, friend and co-worker, were equally valuable in her eyes. 

A consummate organizer she was. There was a place for everything and everything had its place. When little we would help her for hours making sure her barrettes were equally the same on both sides of her hair, her shoelaces exactly the same length, her socks the same height.  Perfect, it had to be perfect. Everything! When it was not, it crumbled around her. We now know too that this is part of the mental health issue. 

Cliché but your smile did light up a room. Your presence and personality belied your inner turmoil. Part of you will forever live on in your donation to a passion of yours the National Marrow Donor Program. A Georgia man will be always and eternally grateful for your gift to him. May your passion inspire others! 

Our forever 49 year old sister Barb struggled with depression and mental health issues; a life long struggle that would ultimately end in her suicide. Her wish was to see that contributions would be made “to Suicide Prevention so they may help others.” We will honor this Sis! In so doing we honor you, your wishes, and the life you lived. Trying daily to do good, making a positive impact, and thus honoring your commitment to suicide prevention so that others might be helped. 

A conversation less than six hours before her suicide would have her talking of Easter dinners, Christmas celebrations, and spending time with her granddaughter. Planning what would have been her upcoming anniversary and a trip she was so looking forward to taking. Knowing now how this day would end, she was saying goodbye in her way. Knowing these things would never take place. Your grace and charm will be missed for all of these occasions. Always! 

Where was she, what was it that made her think that this, this was the only way to solve her problems? How hopeless and helpless she must have felt! What brings a person to that point where they cannot see all the hope and possibility that a new day brings? Suicide is about those you leave behind. Questions to which any answers lay forever buried with her in her grave. 

In her final letter to all of us, her family, she would try to explain, “I cannot hurt anymore”… “I’m not afraid of dying, but I am afraid of not living any longer”…“but living any longer has just gotten too painful.” 

Our tragedy is that families and lives are torn apart by the trauma of suicide. A protective mask most of the survivors’ wear being that of silence. We need to, and will honor, our sister by talking about how she chose to end her life. Ending the silence that suicide brings. Thus giving hope to all of us who have been affected by similar tragedies. We will not be, nor do we wish, to perpetuate this silence. By ending this silence may others find hope and healing out of our darkness?  Let us remove the stigma associated with suicide and mental health issues for all people. 

It would be our wish that in doing so we save one person, one family, this unbearable pain. If this is how deep our pain, we cannot even fathom how horrific and crushing hers must have felt. We continue to do this for you Barb! We honor you by trying to help save others.

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