total hearts received for Moments That Survive

Kathi Aker

One of my nephews, 24, my beloved only sister, 49, and one of my precious brothers, 64, all killed themselves using guns.

My family had reason to believe that my nephew, Cord, was perhaps experiencing the emergence of schizophrenia due to things he said to his girlfriend and people at work before his death.

My sister, Lisa, was diagnosed with bipolar depression in her late teens and battled her demons all her life, with intermittent intervention from professionals and treatment with medication. Her HMO had just changed her meds, due to cost concerns, before her death.

My brother, Franz, had been forced out of a lifetime of service in the U.S. Navy after 19 years, saving the government pension costs. He was being treated for Seasonal Affective Disorder, but, we learned after his death, he had stopped taking his medication.

I have been suicidal and self-harming and am currently in prolonged remission from severe depression due to strong medical support and proper medication. I believe if I’d had access to a gun, I might not be here.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.