Survivors of loved one's suicide provide support, awareness through annual walk


Losing a loved one to suicide leaves people asking a lot of questions.

Mary Kopiak of Warren, whose 19-year-old daughter, Valerie, committed suicide in 1998, said, “I have such guilt. I found her unconscious and thought she was drunk.”

Valerie had taken hundreds of pills, her mother said, and then died after being on life support for 11 days.

“I don’t want any other mother to go through this,” Kopiak said Saturday at the sixth annual Survivors of Suicide Awareness Walk around the four corners of Courthouse Square. “When she died, a part of me left. I was a basket-case.”

About 50 people participated in the event that honors the memories of loved ones who committed suicide.

“When people die in car crashes, they’re treated like angels,” Kopiak said. “When someone [commits suicide], people point fingers. It is a comfort to be with others going through this. It will be with me forever.”

For the complete story, read Sunday's Vindicator or

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