A sister’s answer to coping with suicide

Published 11:08 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2017

September was National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month.

Some of us would not know that because suicide is still one of those subjects that is a part of life that most people find difficult to approach, let alone discuss. But it happens.

The statistics are staggering. It rests at the doorsteps and in the homes of families reaching far more than we would ever know until it happens to us.

For one family, one woman, one sister, it happened. She found herself right smack dab in the middle of dealing with suicide; one early morning with a banging on her door and blue lights flashing and glaring in her window as police and a pastor came to bear the heart wrenching news that her brother had fallen victim to suicide.

How do you handle this? How do you deal with life after suicide? How do you find closure, peace and answer the hard questions and unresolved wonder within your own heart as to why. Let alone, the questions from other people? The answer for LaSonya McGruder was, you combine your love for your brother and your love for fashion, and you take to the runway with a Suicide Prevention and Awareness Fashion Show.

I caught up with LaSonya to discuss how things are coming along as she, her models gear up to take the stage in November.

“First of all, I am not launching a clothing line, but I am considering designing a classy t-shirt to respect the show … I say that because I’ve been asked several times, ‘when is your clothing line coming out?’ It’s no secret that I love fashion. My style is classy, cute, confident and fun,” Lasonya explained as she talked about her upcoming fashion show in honor of her brother.

Her decision to produce a show to bring awareness of suicide to the local area, her hometown in Troup County and the African American Community was a no-brainer.

LaSonya says that she feels like, “We don’t talk about it [suicide] as much … This was one of the reasons the show is important to me. We deny it and feel embarrassed by it.”

She knew she wanted to bring her vision to the stage to the masses with a purpose. “Fashion with A Purpose” became her mental mantra and the idea of honoring her brother took on new meaning. LaSonya says her mission is twofold. She wants people to understand and realize that suicide is very real, and that it’s OK to talk about ‘if’ or ‘when’ it happens to you to heal. She says that the show may be an open door for loved ones of suicide victims to begin to find closure and be courageous enough to stand and say, ‘hey it happened in my family too.’

The fashionista feels the show will open a door to better communication of possible warning signs and how families can help loved ones before it’s too late. She hopes the show brings about talks among families and the community as well as personal testimonials that may help others who find themselves faced with the unthinkable.

With the show slated to take place on Nov. 11 of this year, LaSonya hopes to make it an annual event. Her long-term goals for the show include bridging families to counselors, scholarships and support groups. Make no mistake, this fashion show with a purpose won’t just be your typical fashion show with the latest colors and styles of the season — the audience will hear from Zsa Zsa Heard, a licensed professional therapist, to bring awareness to the cause and proceeds from the show will go to The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

Lasonya’s overall message surrounding her show in honor of her brother and suicide awareness and prevention is simple. “Hear them! Listen!”

Denise Mosley  is a contributor for HuffPost, has authored two books which can be found on amazon and Barnes and Noble, a columnist local papers, written for Ambassador World Magazine, is a freelance photographer who photographs weddings, proms, graduations, engagements and other celebratory occasions and is a full- time Photo Journalist for Raycom Media.