A mother who lost her daughter to suicide is trying to help a community going through the same pain.
“She was very colorful is how I described her,” said Angela Torrez, mother of suicide victim. “My husband called her the pistol on my hip because she was always next to me and she was a pistol.”
Torrez is remembering her 16-year-old daughter Krista Roenicke.
“She unfortunately felt she didn’t want to be in this world anymore. She took her own life,” Torrez said.
It happened last February. Krista was a junior at Ogemaw Heights High School.
“Even when 7:30 comes when the bus is coming to and from school, it’s really difficult,” Torrez said.
But Torrez is healing. She has hope and she wants to share it with her community – a community searching for answers after two other Ogemaw Heights students committed suicide this week.
Torrez’s message is to love each other.
“To be there for each other. Stop asking questions. What happened and what could we have done? Stop blaming each other or any specific reason. Just to look out for one another,” Torrez said.
Barb Smith provides resources and support for suicide survivors.
“The students, the teens, they need support as well as the staff. This is a hurting community,” Smith said.
Smith visited with the families and the schools and one event of coming together really stood out to her.
“The elementary school kids actually made cards for the high schoolers. Little cards that said, ‘we love you. We’re here for you.’ That was the most impactful part of that day. Not even asking questions, just sharing the love,” Smith said.
Torrez will be speaking on a panel at an event called Hope Starts Here on the National Survivors of Suicide Day. That is Nov. 17 at the Bavarian Inn Lodge in Frankenmuth from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.