Walk will benefit suicide preventionOne October morning in 2010, Tisha Krig sent her younger brother a message on Facebook. She wanted to know whether he was planning a trip to come see his new niece and nephew since both Tisha and her sister were scheduled to give birth in just one week.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
One October morning in 2010, Tisha Krig sent her younger brother a message on Facebook. She wanted to know whether he was planning a trip to come see his new niece and nephew since both Tisha and her sister were scheduled to give birth in just one week.
It wasn’t until a few hours later that Tisha knew why she never got a reply back. The message she sent was one her brother, Aaron Siepelmeyer, never got a chance to read.
“Little did I know that he was already gone,” she said.
Aaron had hung himself that day, and died at just 22 years old. He was the lone boy in a family of five children, nestled right in the middle of four sisters.
“There’s just an emptiness in all of our lives because our brother is gone,” Tisha said.
Losing family members to suicide is something the Hager City resident is all too familiar with. Tisha’s first cousin also took his life, as did more distant relatives.
But it was her brother’s death that hit the hardest, and she admits she was initially angry with him.
“I thought, well, how could it be that bad?” she said. “But then you start to forgive and you start to realize that there was other stuff going on.”
Aaron was dealing with common life stressors — handling finances and breaking up with a girlfriend — in addition to some issues with general unhappiness, Tisha said. But it wasn’t until after his death that his family knew much of anything about those problems.
“No one would’ve ever thought. He didn’t outwardly show any signs of depression,” she added. “It was just a real big shock.”
Tisha said that factor is what makes suicide so hard to deal with. But, she added, people often make it out to be disgraceful and victims or families are judged for it.
“They’re not necessarily realizing that the act of suicide doesn’t define who the person was and the effects that they had on other people’s lives,” she explained. “It was one mistake, and a loss of somebody in that way is just as traumatic and sorrowful as any other kind of loss.”
While some people may have trouble talking about it, others find comfort in communication. That’s where suicide prevention walks can be very beneficial.
Tisha and her family have taken part in an Out of the Darkness walk in Rochester to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. But upon realizing how many local people are dealing with the same situations, Tisha and her aunt, Gloria Krause, organized a walk closer to home.
“Suicide has affected many people’s lives in this area and over in western Wisconsin, so it’d really be nice to give them an outlet,” Tisha said.
The Red Wing Out of the Darkness walk will be held Sept. 8 at Bay Point Park. Money raised at the walk will go toward suicide awareness, a suicide helpline, researching depression and counseling for families left behind, among other things.
Tisha will lead a team on behalf of her brother, a man she remembers as “an obnoxiously loud guy with a really big heart.”
If you go…
What: Out of the Darkness walk benefiting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
When: 8 a.m. registration, 9 a.m. walk
Where: Bay Point Park, Red Wing
More info: Call Gloria at 651-253-6615 for more information or to register a team. Registration runs through Sept. 7 at 1 p.m.