Today, I participated in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Out of the Darkness walk here in Manhattan. This year, I raised over $5,000 for the cause. I really didn’t think I was going to surpass my $4,000 goal, but my new colleagues’ levels of generosity have really astounded me.
I was on the stage taking photos with the big fundraiser sign that ranks the top fundraisers in order. This year, I ranked third in Manhattan, which is kind of a big deal considering exactly how big the group of fundraisers is in this borough. Thousands and thousands of people participate in this walk, and it’s only getting bigger each year that we do it. While on stage with Chris taking photos of me, the director of the program found me and asked me if I was Yvonne, and I said, yes. So we talked for a bit given that she’s the new director and is still getting to know everyone, and she said she’d been following my stories the last few years and wanted to meet me, but felt shy about e-mailing me. She asked if I’d be interested in sharing my loss story with other suicide loss survivors, whether it be at events or talks, or even one-on-one with people who reach out to AFSP. I said I’d be happy to do it. I think it would certainly be challenging, to speak publicly about it and not make it all a sob story, but I think it’s a challenge I’d be up for, especially if it can help others cope and get through their loss, or help people who want to understand and be more empathetic be there for their loved ones.
What is the point of going through life with all your tragedies and losses if no good can come out of it? Every day there’s so much suffering in the world. It can be so overwhelmingly depressing unless you want to do something about it yourself.