Help and Hope -- A personal story
On October 25, 1998, my oldest son committed suicide; he was 22 years old. My youngest son was a freshman at Roman Catholic High School. Since I was suffering with my own grief, I missed the signs of what my youngest son was going through until after Thanksgiving.
He and some of his friends had someone buy liquor for them, which they drank all evening. Because of their stupidity, one of the mothers found out what they were up to and a search found where they were. They brought my son home, and it was at that moment that I realized how hard he was suffering from the death of his brother.
The next day, I called for help from a priest that I knew who worked at Roman. He took my son under his wing for the rest of that year and suggested that he go for counseling through Shalom, Inc. at Roman. I am forever grateful for the help that the counselor gave him.
Years went by; and I forgot about this intervention, until recently, when I retired from my job as a Development Director at an Archdiocesan High School. I knew I wanted to be a volunteer for an organization that needed an extra pair of hands, and where I might make a difference. I was approached by Charlotte Centonze, Executive Director of Shalom, Inc., through a personal connection from a member of the board.
When I began to volunteer at Shalom, I met the counselor from Roman who worked with my son. I was so impressed that this counselor remembered my son and what help he needed then. So after 15 years, I had the opportunity to thank her personally for the help she gave him at a time when he and I were so filled with grief.
Since I had worked in a high school, I was familiar with the efforts of the organization, but my own personal experience with them gave me the greatest respect for what they accomplish with youth.
My son is doing well today, and -- with the help from a special counselor from Shalom, Inc. -- has learned to cope with the death of his brother.