RICHLAND, WA - Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the US, for all ages and it's important to know, you are not alone.
The loss of someone you love from suicide can be devastating. But there are ways to navigate the shock, confusion, and despair, and begin the healing process.
Facing the loss of a loved one is always difficult, but losing someone to suicide can add another level of pain to your grief.
"My main thing is to say his name. You know, use their name. They were here. They were real. I am not going to forget his name, so I don't want anybody else to," Hannah Pickett, the funeral director, and embalmer intern, with Sunset Gardens said.
His name is Gunner Lee. He would have graduated high school with the class of 2021.
"You know, he loved animals a lot. I would've like to have thought he would have worked in a vet's office or something like that," she said.
At 18 years young, Hannah's brother died by suicide.
Gunner is loved by a lot of people, his parents, his best friend, his older brother, and Hannah.
"He is not just a hot Facebook, you know, timeline post, or news article. He is more than that and so is anybody who takes their own life. They are more than just that kid that committed suicide last week. He's more than that," she said.
Working at the funeral home, you see a lot of things people normally don't. Hannah said the goal is to never have to meet with a family who is there because of death by suicide.
"The goal is to let people know that there is help available. That you are not a burden, that you are not a chore, that reaching out for help doesn't mean you are weak or a coward, that it means that you are trying again. And that, there are people that will miss you. Even if you think there is not. Even if you don't know, even if you think you don't know. There is always someone that is going to miss you," she said.
She said that with the experience of losing her brother.
"I have never met with a family or heard of a family coming here that suffered death by suicide and that they were just a throw-away and that no one missed them. That doesn't happen. There is always someone who wants you to try one more time," she said.
Every day, approximately 130 Americans die by suicide. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages.
Between the therapy and counseling, Hannah's journey through recovery has not been easy.
"It looks like a lot of down days. A lot of time doing the bare minimum. It's not looked pretty. You know, it looks like guilt, always no matter what, feeling guilty. You know, what if I had, what if I have done, what if I said. It doesn't get better it gets a little bit different," she said.
Hannah said she has been there and she knows it gets better.
"Maybe not overnight, maybe not tomorrow but it does. There will always be an opportunity for change and for things to get better, for help. Six years ago, I could have not seen myself living 2,000 miles from home and doing the job that I have always wanted to do, and choosing my own life, but you can. You can change everything overnight. I mean sometimes, it takes money, sometimes it takes time. Sometimes it takes eating a lot of crackers and Ramon, but there is always an opportunity for change for things to get better," she said.
Hannah encourages you to keep fighting.
"One more time. When you are ready to give up, just try one more time. And one more time after that. And one more time after that. Pick any reason at all, I know I did," she said.
This year, Sunset Gardens put on their first "The Echo of the Bells Ceremony" with the goal to bring awareness. Hannah said this event is for family and friends who are mourning the loss of a loved one so they do not feel alone.
She said this event helped her be seen for the first time in six months and hopes it does the same for others.
If you or someone you know needs someone to talk to, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.