Touched by Suicide Support Group continues meetings
Fulton County resident Lori King is passionate about helping individuals affected by suicide. King started the support group, Touched by Suicide, last year and is continuing the meetings into 2020.
King’s 18-year-old son, Seth, died by suicide May 2, 2014 in Alaska, where she formerly lived. Since then, she has pushed forward and wants to help others who may dealing with a situation similar to her’s, or even her son’s.
Touched by Suicide was organized largely in part to put aside some of the fears of talking about suicide, something some may find taboo. “[The group helps if] you have either lost someone to suicide (friend, family) or maybe you have thought about it yourself, so either you are a survivor or are someone struggling. Now I don’t have any formal training, I’m not a certified counselor or anything like that, I am just a mom who lives everyday life who has chosen to not let this ruin my life but to rise above and try to help others,” said King.
She had moved to Arkansas, away from Alaska, when she received a call telling her to contact Alaska State Troopers. When she learned of her son’s death, she assumed a car wreck. The trooper told her, “No ma’am, he took his own life and I just couldn’t believe it. I was floored. I think I cried for about five seconds, then it was re-group because he had two sisters and a father. I looked at the friends I was with and I said, ‘what do I do next?’ You just go into shock mode. So I made the phone calls that were necessary and then I had to figure out how to get to Alaska to deal with everything.”
King said a lot of her friends and family would describe her as strong through it all, but she didn’t let it get her down. “I have two other children, grandchildren, and I love life. There is plenty to live for. I love stories [about him]. It is tough.”
King lost her mother to breast cancer shortly after her son’s death and her step-father prior. She describes their deaths as very difficult, but her son’s was tragic. “Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. I didn’t understand mental illness. If I think about it now, there was depression, a lot of it and I didn’t see it. I was suffering it my own-self in different ways. I just didn’t get it. I didn’t know. That is probably the hardest thing as a parent. It is hard for anyone, but when you lose your children and you don’t see it coming, you are speechless.”
She talked about facing how her son died head on and wanting to help others. “From the moment that it happened, I never tried to hide what had happened because for some reason, I instinctively knew, that is what I could do. I could not hide it. It was suicide. He took his life. I try to deal with facts and hit things head on.”
“I am hoping within this [support group], I can learn too. We are all one. It is an unfortunate community and some silent aspect, we get it. It is never easy to lose a child to cancer, car wreck, or whatever. There is just something about suicide that makes everyone feel like such a failure,” King added.
The first meeting of 2020 is Tuesday, Jan. 7 from 7 to 8 p.m. at NAEC’s Orange Room in Salem. Meetings scheduled so far: Wednesday, Feb. 12 and April 8. A March date will be announced when scheduled. All meetings are held from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Orange Room.
King encourages late comers to attend.