EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSGroup Offers Help For Those Who Lose Loved One To Suicide
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Elizabeth Noreika
Web Producer: Heath Harrison
Reported: Oct. 31, 2013 9:01 PM EDT
Updated: Oct. 31, 2013 10:40 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
From the outside looking in, it's not always easy to tell what a person is going through. It's not instantly clear what makes them laugh, what makes them cry or what makes them want to live.
For Charles Tuitt, it was his wife Vicki.
"Vicki was my entire life,” he said. “She wasn't just my wife. She was my entire life."
It was a life that changed forever on May 10, 2010, when Vicki shot her son Marty Adams and then herself.
That Monday was just like any other Monday: Charles had left for work, Marty was on the couch sleeping and Vicki had a doctor's appointment.
When Charles called to check in on everyone, no one answered he grew concerned.
"I realized that Vicki was holding a gun and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh! They have been shot,’" he said.
In a blind panic, Charlie called 911.
After the blue lights cleared and Vicki and Marty's bodies were removed from the house, Charles found a motive for the murder-suicide written in a note by Vicki and left on the kitchen table.
Charles said both Vicki and Marty had numerous health problems that caused them a lot of pain, which they suffered through for many years.
By no means, does Charles think it was the best way to handle their situation, but anger is not in his heart.
“The only emotion that I have in terms of this entire thing is I just miss her terribly,
he said. “I can't even put into words how much I miss her."
But he keeps Vicki's memory close, deciding to stay in the home they lived in together for the 11 years of their marriage.
"Quite a few people tried to get me to move, but this is the one place I found peace," he said.
But happy was not how some of his family members saw him. They feared he was becoming withdrawn and keeping to himself. His daughter urged Charles to get help dealing with his grief - help and hope he found in Debbie Cardwell.
Debbie and her husband Chuck run a nonprofit organization out of their home in Kanawha City called Messages for Hope. Much like its name, it's a place for survivors of suicide loss to come and lean on one another, to share their grief in the hope of recovering.
Debbie said she hopes they can expand to an office building to help more people, but limited funding is posing a problem.
She formed the group after losing her own daughter to suicide, saying their wasn't enough resources to help her deal with her loss and she didn't want others to have the same problem.
Since forming in 2010, the group has expanded, reaching out to survivors of suicide loss all across West Virginia and even teaching suicide prevention and awareness.
It's a place that has let Charles know he isn't alone, and learning and accepting that is helping his broken heart be whole again.
"They just gave me so much support,” he said. “I'll never be grateful enough for what everyone has done for me."
Charlie wanted to share his story so that others know there is help out there and you aren't alone.
There are signs experts say you can look for which may indicate that someone is at risk for suicide or even you yourself:
Experts advise the first step in healing is to accept the fact and simply acknowledge your loved you died by suicide. Make sure you stay in touch with friends and family and be patient. Each person grieves at his or her own pace and in his or her own way
Also, be kind to yourself. Getting out there and finding happiness again is not a betrayal of your loved one.
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