A Calgary family who experienced the trauma of a loss to suicide is opening up about their story in hopes of helping others through tragedy.
Patricia Dawn took her own life this past February.
In the nearly 5 months since she passed, her sister, Pauline Staples and other family members have been looking for ways to honour her memory.
“She was amazing and she’s my hero.”
“A part of me is missing ever since she died,” Staples said.
Dawn was 41 years old. She was a wife, mother and loving sister who dedicated part of her life to working with vulnerable people on Vancouver’s downtown eastside.
She was also a nurse and was committed to always helping people.
“She had a caring heart. These people were her life’s work. She was unafraid and right on the front lines,” Staples said.
Her sister said the family wants to honor how she lived her life and have organized a memorial motorcycle ride raising funds for crisis support.
Kody Marloe is Dawn’s niece and Staples’ daughter.
“It’s surreal, because there’s days I think I will be able to go see her and then it clicks in — she’s gone. And there’s days I miss her so much I can’t believe it,” Marloe said.
But they have empathy for what their aunt endured.
“She had so much childhood trauma, she couldn’t bear to live with it. But I didn’t see it coming,” Marloe said.
When the family heard the news of her passing they were compelled to support others suffering in silence.
“I couldn’t understand the words when my brother told me she killed herself. It was such a blow to the heart. I had gone to see her in November and I had no idea that was going to be the last time I saw her,” Staples said.
But their final farewell inspired a movement they’re calling ‘Forever 41’. They are launching the cause with a memorial motorcycle ride starting in Airdrie and ending in Fish Creek park on Aug. 7.
“My sister did so much good for people. She was selfless and I am called to keep that going,” Staples said.
“It’s the best we can do in our lives to keep her soul and memory going,” Marloe said.
“There are other ways, there’s resources and people and there’s so much more out there than what seems like the end.”
If you or someone you know needs support, call the Distress Centre’s 24-Hour Crisis Line: 403-266-HELP (4357).