Coming together on International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

Nov 18, 2022, 7:46 PM | Updated: 9:14 pm

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — While the loss of a loved one is always difficult, losing someone to suicide can add another level of pain to your grief. A South Jordan family is grieving the loss of two of their children who died by suicide.

“I can’t even begin to tell you what that was like,” said Troy Slaymaker.

Slaymaker lost his youngest son Chance at 14.

“He was the glue of the family. He made us go,” he said.

Just three years after the loss of Chance, Slaymaker’s older son Travis died by suicide at the age of 26.

“People say time heals. There is no healing; there’s doing your best to learn how to cope,” he said.

Kathie Supiano — director of Caring Connections, a grief support network at the University of Utah — said losing a loved one to suicide is an immense grief.

“There’s a lot of pressure in our culture to snap out of it and get back to normal, but there will be no same normal ever again,” she said.

According to the National Library of Medicine, those who know someone who has died by suicide within the last year are almost four times more likely to attempt suicide themselves.

To help guide grievers through it, Supiano suggests gathering relevant information from a knowledgeable professional, talking to others about your loss, and listening to others who had similar experiences.

“There is not one thing that is going to help you through your grief,” she said. “They should try a bunch of different things so they end up with the support that works for them.”

The pain of losing them both, Slaymaker said, will never go away.

“You do the best you can to get to the next minute. Some moments are unbearable, and I would give it all to just have them for another minute.”

Nov. 19 is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. There are eight events across Utah bringing people together who have lost a loved one to find support within each other. To find one nearest you, click here.

For more information on Caring Connections and the support they offer, visit their website.

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Coming together on International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day