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WDAY: The News Leader

Published September 22, 2010, 08:53 AM

Family shares their struggle after losing father of 3 to suicide

More than 33-thousand people commit suicide in the United States every year. An attempt is made every minute. No one knows the pain or hurt someone feels before they take their life, but this is for sure. Those left behind find themselves asking a million questions.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

West Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Hundreds are expected to walk this weekend in Fargo in an effort to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention. The "Out of the Darkness Walk" will be held this Sunday at Lindenwood Park. Registration begins at one, and the walk will start at two. There is no fee, but donations are accepted. Go to www.outofthedarkness.org to pre-register.

Money raised not only goes for research, but there are local programs in Fargo-Moorhead now underway because of money collected at this walk. Students at NDSU now receive e-mails from the counseling center. It is a screening program so experts can target those with depression and other mental health issues.

“It is not a computerized response. It is a real counselor connected to them so they can start a dialogue and there can trust can be built and come in for treatment the ultimate goal.”

More than 33-thousand people commit suicide in the United States every year. An attempt is made every minute. No one knows the pain or hurt someone feels before they take their life, but this is for sure. Those left behind find themselves asking a million questions.

Callie Bahls of West Fargo never dreamed she would be taking part in the "Out of the Darkness Walk" in Fargo this weekend, but she says she has to. This after her husband and father of three killed himself.

“His children were the light of his world.”

At 32 Lee Bahls had it all; a great family, a good job, and three little kids that thought the world of him. But in the spring of last year, Lee's wife Callie noticed a change.

“Very sudden.”

Lee was not on medication for anything. No red flags for depression.

“He'll work it off, he is stressed. He will go to the garage or go mow.”

But something went wrong, and in July, Lee took his life, leaving behind Callie and the three kids.

“I never thought that would happen. Even when I found him, I thought is was a horrible joke.”

The toughest part now is trying to move on and figuring out what to say to the kids when they ask those honest, haunting questions.

“When she wishes on a star at night, she wishes her dad could come home. My daughter will say if something happens to you who will take care of us.”

Callie will walk with her three children this weekend, willing to share the story. Hoping to grieve with others and offering support to others, whose wounds from loss are still so raw.

“It brings healing. Always the first thing I think about in the morning and last thing before bed.”

Callie says the more people who walk on Sunday, the easier it will be to erase the stigma that comes with suicide.

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