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"Keeping a bit of Caity"

Posted on December 03 2013

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is at the forefront of research, education of mental illnesses and prevention initiatives designed to reduce loss of life from Suicide.

This cause has become very personal to me. As my family and close friends know, following my 2011 horrific car crash (resulting in numerous life long injuries) at 51 yrs old- I slipped into a deep, life threatening depression, as the first anniversary approached.

I was hospitalized by the Baker Act, on a suicide watch in a psychiatric facility. I received immediate help, and I know there IS HOPE. I've started my road to recovery, and am continuing to learn something new every day, of mental illness and traumatic brain injury. I require many medications and know how important they are. I have a Psychiatrist and Therapist- that I trust. YES, I said it. I hold my head high. It IS what it is. NO SHAME.

Sadly, last January 2013, our next door neighbors' 23 yr old daughter, Caitlin, attempted suicide that failed, rendering her brain dead- only to pass in February, from those very permanent injuries. I cannot tell you of the prayer, hope and then the unimaginable sorrow, that her family, all sitting vigil by her bedside, experienced within those seemingly last never-ending weeks.

She was what everyone dreams their child would be – Beautiful, Vibrant, Creative, Hilarious (as all heck), Talented, Loyal & Bright, a pure fearless Spirit both Humble & Proud . She was a TRUE Angel on Earth. She was the youngest of 6, the Daughter of 2, beloved Friend of many - scattered across the Globe, and first and foremost - a soul that belonged to the infinite ages to come.

We are choosing to celebrate her life, and all the sheer joy she brought to all that she touched. To aid others to understand the signs of mental illness—(bipolar in Cait's case )-- preventing another family from the unbearable anguish that her parents, siblings, extended family, and friends experienced from losing her too prematurely.

I don't know why I was to be miraculously spared- while young Caitlin did not. Survivor's guilt starts a whole other story, and I cannot focus on that if I want to help others. I will- BE BRAVE.

I have made a commitement to continue this educational, and so personal humbling quest, in memory of Caitlin and her Family, in gratitude for sharing our stories with love, just as Caity did.

With more than 38,000 lives lost each year in the U.S. and over one million worldwide, the importance of AFSP's mission has never been greater, nor our work more urgent. "Keeping a bit of Caity", in this beautiful expression of love, as remembrance of your fellow brethren that are suffering silently in pain and confusion. Please join us in bringing this discussion -- "Out of the Darkness and Into the Light", instead of secret whispers hiding in dark hallways - where it should NEVER have been in the first place.