Kerri Gardner is a Youth Motivational Speaker, Author and Suicide Survivor. She is also a wife and mother to 3 amazing kids.
Kerri is an optimist, a true leader, and a believer that we all can have our “BEST LIVES NOW,” regardless of the pain from the past or current circumstances. Kerri believes we live in an abundant world full of exciting new opportunities. She feels that with positive consistent action toward your dreams, you can produce a happier, more fulfilling life of your own design. Kerri lives with her husband Trevor and their three children in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Why I Wrote My Memoir
In the fall of 2012, I received an email from our daughter’s seventh-grade school. I knew it wasn’t going to be good, but I had no idea that opening this email would reopen old wounds and secrets. These secrets I had kept hidden from my neighbors, co-workers, friends and our children for the last 25 years. Only my husband, Trevor, knew of my scars. What I read shocked me. I felt as if I had been punched in the gut, and I burst into tears. This email would undo everything I had tried to keep buried for so long.
I read that a girl named Mary, our daughter’s classmate whom I had never met, had killed herself. She was 13 years old. For me it hit home; it felt raw, like déjà vu, because, in that moment, I was Mary all over again. I was the 13-year-old girl who planned her own suicide and survived. This secret, the one I had been ashamed of, the one our kids, neighbors, co-workers, and friends didn’t know about, was bound to come out. It tore at my heart that I might have had the opportunity to save Mary.
My daughter and I talked about her day in school, how she witnessed other kids’ reactions to Mary’s death and how some kids were making fun of Mary’s suicide. It was a very emotional and stressful day for her and the entire school. She then told me how the psychiatrist suggested journaling as a way to express her feelings about the tragedy. Listening to our daughter talk about her feelings, all I could hear was pain, anger and confusion.
I wanted to stop our daughter’s pain and help answer any questions she had. I knew it was a poor replacement for Mary, but maybe it would be enough to help her through the stages of healing. I decided it was time to share my personal story. I needed to use my story to help in some way. I just knew I couldn’t be silent anymore; I had to help.
I made the decision right there and then to tell our kids. I wanted to express my feelings and relate my own experience and why I tried to commit suicide. I wanted to explain to them what I learned after my attempted suicide, that life doesn’t have to continue to be painful and horrible. I wanted to share my conviction that it helps to talk with people who love and unconditionally support us about however we are feeling. I decided I would write my story. I needed to make a difference and thought that maybe, just maybe, telling my story will encourage those who read it to never take that final step of committing suicide.
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