Henderson support group for those who lost loved ones to suicide in remembrance ceremony

About 700 Kentuckians a year commit suicide.

Now a group from western Kentucky called Infinite hope was formed to support those who remain.

WKU Public Radio reporter Rhonda Miller spoke to two people from Henderson who lost beloved young men to suicide, as Infinite Hope prepares for a remembrance ceremony on Saturday, September 25 at 6 p.m. hours at Central Park in Henderson.

One of the participants in the event is Frank Poole, who lived near his grandson Talon Hogan for the 20 years of the young man’s life. He looked after Talon and his brother when their mother was busy renovating their church and Poole was out of work during the Great Recession.

“I was 58. You couldn’t find a place that would accept a nomination,” Poole said. “So they really filled my life at a time when I needed them. And I look back now, those were some of the most precious moments. I wish I had realized that moment even more.”

When the rest of the family moved to Indiana, Talon stayed with his grandfather to attend college, where he was at ROTC. At 20, he moved into his own apartment and worked in a big box store, considering becoming a police officer at age 21.

When Talon did not show up for a job interview on May 29, 2018, the family and police went to look for him.

Frank Poole found the body of his grandson lying by a stream, with an assault rifle the young man had bought 10 days earlier.

“I remember how lonely I felt on the sidewalk. I was ready to walk past one of those trucks when his body bag came out of that cove, ”said Poole. “I didn’t know my heart could hurt so much and keep beating.

Poole continues to wonder what he may have been missing.

“I looked at every breath I took with him for the past three years, trying to find a clue,” Poole said.

“People who love them are really trying to come up with that, ‘Why? What could I have done? How could I have changed it? If only I had… “” said psychologist Julie Cerel, a professor at the University of Kentucky and director of her Suicide Prevention and Exposure Lab. “It goes on forever for many survivors of the loss.”

Cerel said that one factor that puts a person at risk for suicide is that they feel like they belong. And there is another red flag.

“The only really reliable risk factor we have for suicide is someone who has attempted suicide in the past,” Cerel said.

But unfortunately, some people kill themselves the first time.

Cerel says that when a person is in so much mental pain that they can’t see a way out, their brain gives them false information, including thoughts “that she is a burden to the people who love her and that people who like it to be better without them, even if it never, ever is, that’s what suicidal people think.

Patti Hunnicutt understands this all too well. Her son Joshua was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a condition his father also suffered from. Joshua was on medication and seeing a therapist every two weeks when he hanged himself in his apartment. He was 27 years old. Hunnicutt said Joshua had four children and loved being a dad, but was separated from his wife due to his struggles with the disease.

“He said, ‘Mum, you know, what kind of life do I have for my kids? Hunnicut remembers. “Because he was worried, you know, he had seen his father and so he knew that there would be times when he would act totally different than he was and he was afraid of hurting someone, in especially his children. “

Hunnicutt lost Joshua 18 years ago and said it’s important for anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide to find emotional support.

“The pain will always be there. He’s not going away. It becomes more manageable. It’s not as overwhelming as it was at the beginning, “Hunnicutt said.” I think having things like Infinite Hope, where you just know there are people going through the same thing, who understand your feelings. , is really useful. “

Frank Poole and Patti Hunnicutt offer and receive support by participating in Infinite Hope. Their loved ones will be among those remembered on Saturday with photos, music and a candlelight vigil at Central Park in Henderson.

Virginia S. Braud