Written by Marcus Goldhaber, Team Team Wade
In 2012, Wade Fisher, my best friend and soul brother, died by suicide. After a few months of new pain, struggles, depression, and confusing sense of loss and guilt, my sister began slowly introducing me to Samaritans. In a very nurturing way, Michelle made me aware of this incredible community of healers who were there specifically to help me address my new questions, unfamiliar frustration, and sadness – and to just listen.
Six months later, I finally agreed to go in and meet some of the people at Samaritans. Michelle and I sat down with the Grief Support Services staff for what was supposed to be a brief 45-minute introductory meeting but became a comforting 3-hour conversation. During this conversation, I felt my pain embraced and heard it articulated in a way I had not previously been able to access. I felt understood, I felt safe, and I learned that, unfortunately, I was not alone in my loss.
After we left, Michelle asked me if I’d be interested in running the 5K for Samaritans in memory of Wade. I was still apprehensive, but agreed to do it, which gave birth to the Brother/Sister Runners. Michelle and I have always been a great team…we balance each other out very well! She offered to be the team captain and together we formed Team Team Wade and began fundraising for Samaritans. The extra “Team” was a clerical error that was 100% in line with Wade’s sense of humor so we kept it!
When we arrived at Artesani Park, I was overwhelmed and shocked to see how many people had been touched by suicide. There must have been thousands of people there and I didn’t know anyone except for a few Samaritans employees and the other members of Team Team Wade. I felt a strong connection with the other runners and walkers. This connection was about more than our potentially shared grief. It seemed to be more about our shared desire to strengthen the conversation about mental health and suicide prevention, and our willingness to be vulnerable in public despite the various levels of pain that many were feeling that day. It was a new community – one I didn’t want to belong to, but one by which I was immediately comforted.
Running for Samaritans with Michelle in memory of Wade has given me strength to better process my grief and has broadened my understanding of what it means to be touched by suicide. It has allowed us to build a beautiful and tightly connected community made up of those who knew and loved Wade. It has provided an outlet for us all to express a whole range of emotions, thoughts, and questions in a safe and loving space. I am extremely grateful for Samaritans, the 5K, and especially for my sister, who saves my life every single day!