Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

January 6, 2013

Families cope with suicide

-- — As Tamara Hardesty explained in a story that ran this weekend in The Valdosta Daily Times, suicide is a complicated grief.

“It comes with the suddenness of an accident but with the violence of a murder,” Hardesty said. “... You’re going to feel angry with your loved one and then you feel guilty for feeling angry.”

While many South Georgians have come to know Hardesty as a soprano on stage, a voice teacher in Valdosta State University music classrooms, a mother to two small children and the wife of Valdosta Symphony Orchestra conductor Howard Hsu, she is also a survivor of suicide. Her father committed suicide in 2004.

Before arriving in Valdosta, Hardesty found catharsis participating in a survivors of suicide support group. She was disappointed not finding a similar support group in Valdosta.

This month, with a firm foundation in Valdosta, for herself and her family, Hardesty will start Valdosta Survivors of Suicide Support Group. She emphasizes that she is not a mental-health expert but will serve as the group’s lead facilitator.

The group will give people who have lost a family member or friend to suicide a safe place to discuss their emotions and their experiences with others who have endured similar situations.

SOS Valdosta will offer solace to those who have lost a loved one to suicide, a place to heal, and hopefully come to a place where they can appreciate the time spent with their loved ones.

As Hardesty said,  “The ending doesn’t define the story. You can reach a point where you get past the death and can appreciate the good times with the person you loved.”

SOS Valdosta: Valdosta Survivors of Suicide Support Group holds its first meeting, 8 p.m., Jan. 16, Unitarian Universalist Church, 1951 E. Park Ave. SOS Valdosta will then meet at the same time and place on the third Wednesday of each month. More information: Visit the Facebook site Valdosta Survivors of Suicide Support Group; or email Tamara Hardesty,

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