NEWARK – Stacie Bolitho knows first hand the devastation suicide can cause.
In 2013, Bolitho’s husband, Kyle, died by suicide.
Through the support of family and friends Bolitho, from Hanover, and her daughter, Kennedy, have been able to move on and have been able to find joy in their lives again by kayaking, camping, watching movies and spending time with family.
As Bolitho spoke to a group of roughly 60 people gathered for a suicide prevention walk and candle light vigil Tuesday night, she said she does not let her husband’s death define her.
“Not only am I surviving, I’m living and enjoying my life every day and every step of the way,” she said.
Bolitho and her daughter participated in Mental Health America of Licking County’s annual walk and vigil in recognition of September being Suicide Prevention Awareness month. People of all ages participated in the walk and vigil in downtown Newark at the Canal Market District.
Penny Sitler, executive director of Mental Health America of Licking County, said family members and friends of people who die by suicide often tell MHA staff members they want their loved one to be remembered.
“They lived a life, no matter how short and no matter how it ended they did live a life and they were loved,” she said. “They don’t want people to forget them.”
Sitler said when a person dies by suicide, people don’t know what to say and tend not to talk about it, but the vigil gives people a way to celebrate their loved one’s life.
Before the walk, staff from MHA had activities for children to do such as making stress balls out of balloons and flour and painting rocks with messages of hope. Sitler said one child painted a rock for his father who died by suicide that read “You were loved.”
“For people to feel the freedom to express that is really, really critical,” Sitler said.
Mental Health America of Licking County has a support group for friends and family of people who have died by suicide. It meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the MHA offices, located at 65 Messimer Drive in Newark.
Found in The Newark Advocate September 13, 2017