Annual Memorial 2024

Each year, Samaritans hosts our Annual Memorial, a gathering of healing and support for suicide loss survivors. This year holds a special significance for our organization as we celebrate our 50th anniversary. Half a century ago, Samaritans was founded in the basement of the Arlington Street Church to offer people judgement-free support when they struggled with thoughts of suicide, loneliness, and depression. Returning to this historic space five decades later served as a poignant reminder of the enduring importance of our mission, the lives we’ve touched, and the work still needed to prevent suicide and support those affected.

Annual Memorial 2024

Framed photographs and candles displayed on the memorial table.

The 2024 Annual Memorial held a profound significance for us—a moment to join in community to connect, find support, and honor loved ones lost to suicide.

This year’s event drew one of the largest crowds in recent memory, with over 150 people registering to attend in person and an additional 60 joining us virtually. While it was heartbreaking to witness the widespread impact of suicide loss, it also filled us with great hope to see so many people coming together to support one another.

Sissi O’Shaughnessy, our recently appointed Senior Director of Suicide Grief Support Services, opened the program by sharing her personal experience with suicide loss and her journey of moving through grief. Losing someone to suicide is a profoundly complex and painful experience. Beyond the overwhelming grief of losing a loved one, it is often accompanied by feelings of guilt and shame. Sissi encouraged attendees to hold onto cherished memories and love for their lost ones as they joined in community with other survivors, who uniquely understand that process of grief.

As many of us know, suicide loss is a unique, complicated kind of grief. You never get over it, but with time and with support from others, you learn to live with the pain.

Program Book

The program unfolded with readings, poems, and songs shared by members of the community in remembrance of their loved ones. Read them in the program book below.

Candle Lighting Ceremony

After the readings, Samaritans Board member member Nicole Moustafa led the candle lighting ceremony. She began with a tribute to her cousin, Christian Caldaroni, then passed on the light until the gentle glow of candles filled the church. In the following moment of silence, attendees reflected on their loved ones, and the love that they continue to hold for them.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all who joined us, virtually and in person, to honor our loved ones. Your presence at the 2024 Annual Memorial created a deeply meaningful experience, and we are thankful for the opportunity to provide a space for remembrance.

The Annual Memorial served as a powerful moment to join together in community and remember the lives lost too soon. We understand that the weight of suicide grief can be overwhelming, but you are not alone. Our Grief Support Services are available throughout the year to offer nonjudgmental listening and peer support in your grieving. Whether you prefer virtual or in-person SafePlace meetings or would like to arrange a Survivor-to-Survivor visit to discuss your loss, we are here to support you every step of the way. Remember, you are not alone.