Michele Madden’s brother, Jamie, was a great guy. He was happy, the life of the party, would give a stranger the shirt off his back and had no problem getting girlfriends. That is why it was such a shock when Michele learned that, in the middle of a promising life, Jamie committed suicide.
Six months later, Michele’s heart was still as devastated as if the suicide had just occurred the day before. “Losing a loved-one to suicide is one of the most painful things a person will ever endure,” says Michele.
In September of 2011, she started Aftershock, a ministry created specifically for those who have suffered the loss of a loved-one to suicide. “I use to wonder if there would be many people a the Rock who would need Aftershock. But in just 18 months, we’ve had 40 people attend.” Studies show that a suicide occurs every 13.7 minutes.
“That means the Rock has hundreds who are suffering but won’t admit it,” she adds. “Suicide is different from all other deaths. Many people choose to grieve in silence and avoid being judged.”
Aftershock offers group support and a biblical perspective on grieving and loss. There is no judgment, all tears and expression are welcome and nobody is pushed to feel better right away. “People heal so gradually that they hardly even notice, until they look back and see where they’ve come from,” Michele says. “But no doubt about it, there will be healing. There is hope for the future.”