Valentine’s Day is approaching. It has a special meaning for me because it is also the anniversary of the day I launched the Alliance of Hope forum. I don’t think I originally planned it that way — it just happened. If you dig deep enough, through the hundreds of thousands of posts that now reside on our forum, you can still find my original post.
“February 14, 2008
Hello, my name is Ronnie Walker
I am the person who created the website and this forum that links to it. My stepson Channing, took his life at the age of 21 in 1995. I created the website and this discussion forum because I wanted to support others who have lost loved ones to suicide. I hope that in some small way, this will be of help on your journey.
Ronnie Walker, MS, LCPC”
I had no idea that I had just begun a most amazing journey, or how many extraordinary people I would meet along the way. Over the last thirteen years, thousands of people have added their wisdom to the community, putting aside their own pain to reach out to others who needed encouragement and hope. There is so much love in the community – and continuing kindness expressed in both public and private messages.
I have sensed many changes in the survivor community and in attitudes towards suicide since my stepson Chan died 25 years ago. In decades past, a great many survivors hesitated to speak authentically about the loss of their loved one – lest they or their loved one, be judged negatively. Recently, more and more survivors are willing to talk about their loss. They are willing to discuss their loved one’s struggle with depression, physical or mental illness, economic or social challenges, and sometimes, the side effects they experienced from drugs.
When survivors share, it becomes clear that those who have passed are so much more than just those things that led them to end their lives.
As Valentine’s Day draws near, I invite you to view the Alliance of Hope Memorial Wall, where hundreds of dedications bear witness to the love that continues between the survivors and those who have passed. Together, we honor their spirit and heal ours.
Ronnie Walker MS, LCPC