When we launched the Collateral Damage Project we did so on CBC Radio’s Ontario Today Show. At 17:58 into the show I heard the voice of Joanne, who started by saying “I lost my son Liam to suicide eight weeks ago”. You can clearly hear how this took my breathe away…it still does. (Here’s a link to the Ontario Today Show)

Now today we are eight weeks out of the second anniversary of the launch and I am thinking about Joanne and her family. I had the opportunity to meet with and photograph Joanne in the fall of 2009 so I have shared a few photos. Normally I like to focus on how we move forward and get through life after losing a loved one or friend to suicide and I believe that the Collateral Damage Project is about those of us who are faced with navigating the overgrown path that leaves us sometimes without direction. The photographs that I ultimately chose for the book will be of ‘survivors’ rather than those loved ones ad friends that we have lost to suicide. Today though, for Joanne, I want to share with you a smiling family that may often seem relegated to a photo album. The reason I believe that the family smiles will not only remain in the album is because Joanne made the choice to talk about losing her son Liam to suicide. As difficult as it continues to be, Joanne talks about it and so does her family.

Not talking about it isn’t working…thank you for joining the dialogue.

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