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, firstname.lastname@example.org