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Families share loss of losing a loved one to suicide

David and Linda Levandowski. Linda does not want another family to experience the pain of losing a child to suicide.

David and Linda Levandowski. Linda does not want another family to experience the pain of losing a child to suicide. Photo by Stephen Bartlett.

“Nobody should have to go through this pain.”

Angie LePage can relate to that pain all too well.

“I lost my son, my precious son, to suicide.”

She cannot recall any specific time he mentioned suicide, but if anyone is ever in that position, “don’t roll the dice,” she said.

Her son, Michael, was struggling with alcohol and was facing his second DWI.

“He was incredibly fearful with what would happen with him in the criminal justice system,” LePage said. “He got his second DWI, and in his mind he was done.”

She recalls walking into the living room and glancing above the fireplace to see his picture face down. She asked him about it and Michael said that was how he wanted it.

“My Michael didn’t want to die,” LePage said. “He just didn’t know how to live.”

Mary Gillen’s son didn’t exhibit any revealing behaviors. There was no warning, except possibly the time he gave away his prized possessions.

Still, Gillen chalked it up to the young man preparing to leave for college.

“You never know what is in someone’s head.”

She urges families and the community to begin talking about suicide. If the conversation does not start, nothing will change, she said.

“Talk about it so it is not that thing that is whispered about,” Gillen said. “You have to use the bad word, ‘suicide.’”

Anytime someone throws around suicide threats, take that person seriously, she said. The individual might be angry, but tomorrow and beyond that person will be alive.

“We have to make mental health issues acceptable,” Gillen said. “Be honest with people and quit dancing around it.”

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