September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Read and share stories to honor survivors whose loved ones died by gun suicide.

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Michael Cech

I’m one of the lucky ones.
I wasn’t killed, wounded or shot at.
I was in Germany, waiting to fly home.
Then, my wife’s text: “In case you hear…we are in lockdown…shooting in our school is real…I am fine…I have 18 kids locked in a closet along with Mary Ann and Cindy.”
I called my son. He raced to the scene. Did Mom survive?
He located her and notified me: “Dawn is dead.” “School psychiatrist shot.” “Two classes of kids are dead.”
I didn’t hear gunshots, screams, breaking glass or police running across the roof. Didn’t smell the gunpowder. Didn’t see the kids’ faces as they hid or the parents at the firehouse awaiting word on their missing children. I didn’t lose 26 people I knew extremely well. Even so, my life would never be the same.
There are millions like me, surrounding and supporting those at the epicenter as best we can, when they relive unspeakable, traumatic memories.
We’re survivors too—just in a different way.
Eight years later, Sandy Hook’s impact remains. Seeing a young child, the word “trigger,” watching “open carry” demonstrations. Indescribable, heart-wrenching sadness.
But, based on what many others went through that day, I actually was one of the lucky ones.

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