My brother Brycen’s love of life was unmatched. He was always carrying a smile on his face, grinning from ear to ear, loved to tell jokes and was a friend to all. He was the one to go to when you needed a shoulder to cry on.
So it was quite a shock when he died by suicide at the age of 17 in April of 2021. It was hard for me to process the roller coaster of emotions I felt after he died – from sadness to anger to regret – and everything in between.
Through others, I found Cornerstone of Hope. I started receiving individual counseling at the Cleveland office soon after Brycen’s passing. It was a great help to me, as I learned to be vulnerable and express my emotions — that it wasn’t “wrong” to feel angry or mad about my brother’s suicide. I learned a lot about myself along the way, too!
A year later, after moving to the Columbus area, I was grateful to learn that I could resume my services with Cornerstone, in their Columbus office, as I felt that I needed to, once again, return to counseling. I joined the Hope After Suicide Loss support group. It felt so good to be with others who had experienced a similar loss and could relate to how I was feeling. During the eight weeks of the support group, I was able to discover new things about navigating grief and how to manage it on a daily basis. I was given coping skills on how to respond to people’s, often times, and usually unintentional, insensitive and hurtful clichéd comments to someone grieving a loss, specifically a suicide. I also learned there is a difference between the terms “bereavement”, “grieving”, and “mourning”, and as a group we peeled away at the deeper, underlying emotions we each had about losing a loved one to suicide.
The experience I had at Cornerstone of Hope has changed my life forever. I now have the confidence to live each day as it comes. “Bryce”, as we called him, is missed very dearly by me and my family, but we have found comfort in each other, and from “signs” that he has sent to us since his passing.
I hope one day, if I encounter someone who is struggling with the loss of a loved one, especially if a similar loss, that I can extend a hand like the one extended to me through Cornerstone, and encourage them to seek professional counseling from Cornerstone of Hope. I would highly recommend their counseling and support group services to anyone grieving the loss of a loved one, no matter the circumstance.