Charlene Egizi
Orange County, CA

Bio: I am an avid fan of the Anaheim Angels and New England Patriots. I currently live in La Habra, CA with a roommate and my three black cats. I recently went back to school with the goal of getting a Bachelor's in Human Services and ultimately a Masters in Social Work. I am a family survivor of suicide (losing my brother, niece and sister to suicide in a 14 month period from 8/1/12-10/2/13) and since then I have been volunteering with a non-profit (With Hope, The Amber Craig Memorial Foundation), that focuses on suicide prevention through education and mental health awareness. In 2013, I had the honor of being a "Cabin Big Buddy" for Camp Erin Orange County and I'm anxiously looking forward to the 2014 version. Hopefully, I will have a bit of input in planning this year's camp. It is a bereavement camp for kids 6-17 who have lost a loved one. The camp is a place for them to get together with peers and others who "get it" and allows them to grieve and grow while also having some fun. I am also hoping to start as a mentor with the Mental Health Alliance of Orange County. I will also be joining the email pen pal support network of Gift From Within. Eventually, after I get my degree, I want to focus on helping other family suicide survivors. I am a Christian, but I do not believe in organized religion. I believe in having a passionate personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I started this blog for no apparent reason, but now I am using it as a forum to be openly transparent about what my family and I have been through, hoping it can prevent another family from having to go through the same thing. I will blog on a variety of topics, whatever is on my mind on any given day, so this is going to be an online journal of sorts because I have found it easier to process my feelings after I have written them down. Come along for the ride and hopefully you will enjoy getting to know me through my writings and maybe pick up some useful information along the way. If you have experienced a family or loved one's suicide, I get it. If you know someone who has attempted, but thankfully lived, I get that way too well also. Since my brother's suicide in August 2012, I have tried to be as open and transparent as I can be because it's time that the "stigma" is removed from suicide. Family members should not be ashamed, embarrassed or feel guilty because of a suicide. We grieve like anyone else who has lost a loved one, but our grief is more complicated in that A) it was sudden and unexpected, B) We don't know why and probably will never will, C) We can never know exactly what they were thinking at the moment they decided to end their life. I can't even count the number of people who have stopped talking to me, if not after my brother's suicide, then after my niece's and even more after my sister's. My guess is they think my family is really "screwed up" and are afraid, it will rub off on them. That just shows how uninformed they are, and quite frankly, I don't need them in my life anyway. I have had casual friends turn into my lifelines when I really feel like I'm losing it. But I'm taking things one day at time, one moment at a time.

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