Christine and Shannon crossed paths not long after Christine’s journey as a loss survivor had started. Her passion is contagious; always being a voice for those who don’t have one. She shares in the pain and the passion. She was an obvious choice and am honored to have Christine Donato as the Vice President of our Board. Here’s her story:
October 26, 2017 was the worst day of our family’s lives. It was the day my husband and I lost our son and our other three children lost their brother. Our son died by suicide at only 18 years of age. The hours, days and months following were honestly so painful, words cannot describe. The feeling of heart wrenching pain, guilt, anger, and fear was completely overwhelming and all consuming. There was no escaping this devastation and horror of the reality that our son was never coming back. Yet I had to keep going for my husband and my children. I needed to support my family, so I started looking for answers and help. I needed to have purpose for this pain. I was very lucky; the support system I had and continue to have is amazing. My family and friends have been wonderful, but I needed to do more for my family and this community. In looking for help I quickly realized there were not a lot of resources. So, I decided I needed to help myself. I started reading everything I could get my hands on regarding suicide and loss survivors. I first joined the Stark County Suicide Prevention Coalition, where I met Shannon Ortiz. We formed an instant connection because of the pain we share. Little did I know that our paths would cross again in a way that would help my healing and help our community. I then found myself a part of Stark Strong, an organization created to help the youth in bringing awareness to suicide in hopes of prevention. I am also a Perry Rotary Board and committee member, which brings me full circle and back to Light after Loss. I was excited to meet with Shannon and talk about her vision. She didn’t get to far in, and I knew this is where I needed to be. I want to bring suicide out of the darkness and into the light, both for those suffering and those left behind. The more we talk about suicide the less stigma associated with it. As I continue to struggle with my own grief, guilt and constant concern for my family, I want to be a source of hope and healing to those left behind in knowing you are not alone. The burden I now carry (worrying about my children and husband) is sometimes so overwhelming I can’t breathe. Light after Loss will be that support for those left behind, providing resources, support, and hope for healing. We all have the ability to be kind to one another and make a positive impact. It is our response to that ability that makes us who we are. I am honored to be part of this organization and serve on the Board.
#lightafterloss #bealight #bekind#survivors