This is one of the hardest blog posts for me to update.
My sister, Leah, was sitting in the front row as I gave this speech, cheering me on, as I gave a speech about our other sister, Erin, who committed suicide a few years prior. The speech focused on overcoming grief and preventing suicide by creating something beautiful out of tragedies.
Well, that speech became a prophetic love note to me, as Leah committed suicide a little less than two months ago.
To think that she heard my words and was inspired, for just a moment, to create her own blog and write. To think of the embrace we shared when I finished and how her hair smelled like her typical drugstore shampoo when she leaned over to tell me how much I touched her. To see the tears in her eyes brought on by words I wrote and said.
To know that a few years later, she would still end her life in the most public way.
There are no words. There is no consolation.
When I was a little girl, my dreams did not include going back to my hometown to speak about suicide prevention because my own sister took her life. The thing is, life doesn’t ask us what we want before it decides what it is going to serve us. All we can do is move forward in the best way possible. I am so humbled I was asked to speak at Grace For 2 Brothers Foundation‘s event on World Suicide Prevention Day about the importance of breaking the stigma and silence around suicide. I could not stop my sister from committing suicide, but I can dedicate my life to preventing others from making the same decision. To be honest, I was hysterically crying minutes before I gave this speech because the weight of sadness and detestation was so heavy around publicly speaking about my sister’s suicide in the town we grew up together in. By the grace of God, and my amazing Mama, I somehow pulled myself together just in time to speak. Here’s my speech, in its entirety, on the importance of breaking the silence: Click here to listen.