TUCSON, Ariz. — When Meg Sax talks about her son Douglas her face lights up.
“He was amazing. He was one of the kindest souls that I have had an opportunity to meet,” Sax said “He was always thinking of others and he was always wanting to put a smile on people's faces.”
Sax recently shared photos and memories with KGUN9 in her Tucson home, but it took her years to be so open. Douglas was 18 years old when he took his own life in 2005.
“In the beginning you can't see, you can't ever imagine — how am I going to do this?” Sax said. “How am I going to continue, how am I going to move forward here?”
While Sax was dealing with her grief, she was also raising her younger son. It wasn't until a few years after Douglas' death that she made a big step in her healing journey. She joined a free, volunteer-based support group called Tucson Survivors of Suicide. It is run through EMPACT — Suicide Prevention Center at La Frontera Arizona.
Sax says there's nothing like walking into a room full of people who know what you've been through. Everyone grieves in their own way, she says, but there are a lot similarities among suicide loss survivors. Attending meetings really validated some of her feelings and for Sax that’s where the true healing began.
Ten years after the death of her son, Sax’s brother Steven took his own life. Sharing her grief and talking with others is what gave her strength.
“There is the guilt of — could of, should have, would have,” Sax said. “Why didn't I see it or why didn't I know? Or why — he came to me before, but now he didn't come to me this time so what did I miss?”
Now Sax wants to be a source of hope for others who are struggling. She is a facilitator at the support group meetings. With great love comes great sorrow, Sax believes, and she hopes talking about suicide may encourage people who need it to get help.
“The sorrow does get lifted,” Sax said. “You are able to think of your loved one in not just the moment that they died, but in their whole totality and everything — all the love and the wonderfulness they brought in to your life.”
The Tucson support group meets the first and third Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. Meetings are held at Catalina United Methodist Church located at 2700 E. Speedway Blvd.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. This article also outlines how you can get someone help.