Evans Family

Children are not supposed to die before their parents. But on October 28, 2005 life as we thought it came to a crashing halt when our daughter Laura took her own life at age 19. We began a long, lonely, sad journey that day, one that never really ends. Sure ‘life goes on’ as they say. You put on your ‘happy face’ each day hiding your inner most feelings because that is what is expected. We as a society need to be able to talk openly about mental health and suicide. It should be no different than if Laura had died suddenly from an unknown heart defect, a car accident or anaphylactic shock from eating peanuts.

Laura was our middle child, a smiling, happy little girl who was always giving to her friends. In her teens she became moody, but what teen doesn’t, we thought. Laura was a third year university student, worked part-time, had many friends and planned to work with youth. It wasn’t until we read her journals after she died that we became aware of her depths of despair that she wrote about. We were oblivious of the demons that were tormenting her; she kept them well hidden. The death of your child means loss of futures, hopes, aspirations and dreams. We have had to learn to live life with a void and find ways to hold on to our memories. In sharing our story about Laura, we hope to reach out to others so they do not have to silently suffer.
This poem speaks volumes for breaking down the walls of silence, removing the stigma and decreasing the discomfort and societal oppression around suicide.

The Elephant in the Room

by Terry Kettering

There’s an elephant in the room.
It is large and squatting, so it is hard to get around it.
Yet we squeeze by with, “how are you?” and, “I’m fine”.
And a thousand other forms of trivial chatter.

We talk about the weather.
We talk about work.
We talk about everything else-except the elephant in the room.

There’s an elephant in the room.
We all know it’s there.
We are thinking about the elephant as we walk together.
It is constantly on our minds.

For, you see, it is a very big elephant.
It has hurt us all.
But we do not talk about the elephant in the room.

Oh please, say her name.
Oh, please say “Laura” again.
Oh, please, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

For if we talk about her death, perhaps we can talk about her life?
Can I say “Laura” to you and not have you look away?
For if I cannot, then you are leaving me

Alone, In a room…
With an elephant