StoryCorps: Processing A Mother's Suicide, 11 Years Later Sylvia Grosvold was 5 years old when her mother died by suicide. At StoryCorps, Sylvia, now 16, tells her dad how she has processed the loss. "I guess I'm stronger than I think I am," she says.
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A Daughter Talks With Her Father About Coping With Her Mother's Suicide

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A Daughter Talks With Her Father About Coping With Her Mother's Suicide

A Daughter Talks With Her Father About Coping With Her Mother's Suicide

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

NOEL KING, HOST:

It's Friday, which means it's time for StoryCorps. Today we have a hard conversation. It's about suicide. Sylvia Grosvold was 5 1/2 years old when her mother died. Ten years later, she came to StoryCorps with her dad, Josh Weiner, to talk about that day.

SYLVIA GROSVOLD: I pretty clearly remember going to school. And mom would always walk me inside to the classroom. And this day, she walked me onto the playground, and then she said I could go in by myself if I wanted. And I felt so grown up. And I didn't give her a hug that day, and I didn't say goodbye. And I got into the classroom, and I immediately started crying. And I ran back out, but by that time, she was gone. I just felt so guilty that I hadn't given her one last hug.

JOSH WEINER: I remember getting the call from the office that she had not picked you up. In those first year or two after your mom died, I just remember feeling helpless - you know, like there's nothing I can do to fix this. Do you remember when I apologized to you for throwing away...

SYLVIA: For throwing away the note.

WEINER: Yeah.

SYLVIA: Yeah because I learned that some people write suicide notes. And I was like, where's mom's? I really wanted to read that for a long time.

WEINER: I know. And I felt really bad. But I think I was just so angry when I read that.

SYLVIA: I mean, I totally understand why you did it.

WEINER: Do you remember how when you were little, you would look up at the moon?

SYLVIA: Yeah.

WEINER: And you would say, oh, mom's up there on the moon.

SYLVIA: I had this whole story about how she lived in a city on the moon. We had that bathroom window that opened up and didn't have a screen. And you could see the moon perfectly from there, and so I'd look out the window and talk to her.

WEINER: So what would you want your mom to know about you now?

SYLVIA: I'd want her to know my personality. And I would want her to know how tall I am. I'm almost taller than you, and I don't know where I get being tall from. It's not like our family is giant.

WEINER: I think she would be very proud of you. Is there anything that you've learned about yourself?

SYLVIA: I've learned a lot about death and dealing with it because I struggled with that for so long. I couldn't go to sleep. I didn't want you to leave because I was worried something would happen. But one time, I was at camp, and we were supposed to say our biggest fear. And I was, like, death. Hold up. Wait, that's not my biggest fear anymore.

WEINER: Yeah.

SYLVIA: So I guess I'm stronger than I think I am.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHRIS ZABRISKIE'S "THAT KID IN FOURTH GRADE WHO REALLY LIKED THE DENVER BRONCOS")

SYLVIA: That was Josh Wiener with his daughter, Sylvia Grosvold. Their story is part of StoryCorps's Road to Resilience Project. It uses storytelling to help kids cope with the death of a parent or loved one. If you or someone you know is in crisis, you can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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