by Natalie DeMola
According to CDC, more than 32,000 suicides occurred in the U.S. in one year, which is equivalent to 89 suicides per day or one suicide every 16 minutes. Since the age of 6 years old, I have battled with the thoughts of suicide and actually thought I could kill myself at the age of 6 when I ate some rat poison. Although I was too young to know how much I need to swallow or what it really took to kill myself, the intent was real as ever, and that oppressing suicide spirit was what I carried on my back throughout life.
Being incarcerated since the age of 16, and serving a life without the possibility sentence, I have encountered many women here who have given up hope and have given up hope a few times myself. But getting my voice out there and possibly saving others is what gives me drive to want to continue on another day. One woman I have encountered in here named Alissa Kamholz shares that same view, and today it is her day to allow her voice to be heard.
According to CDC, more than 32,000 suicides occurred in the U.S. in one year, which is equivalent to 89 suicides per day or one suicide every 16 minutes.
Since the age of 8 years old, Alissa has wanted to die due to the physical, mental and sexual abuse that she experienced in her childhood. Throughout her life, as she continued on with the pain of the past and present, she searched for a way of escape from this unbearable pain that she has felt her whole life.
During Alissa’s incarceration, she has been an active member of the community within these walls by taking self-help groups and being a positive influence to others. Yet still, with a smile that cheered up others, no one knew the pain that the smile hid.
When Alissa was brought back from her suicide attempt and realized she was not dead, she was mad because she thought that her pain would be all over. She stated that her mind frame at the time of the suicide attempt was: “I thought it would be better for my family if I was gone. They wouldn’t have to worry about when I was coming home and it would be less of a burden for them.”
Alissa is serving a life sentence and, like many family members who have a loved one serving a life sentence, the victimizer’s family shares a pain similar to the pain the victim’s family feels to lose a loved one – except they are bound by the shame of telling others and in fear that society may judge them as if they are responsible for the crime their love one committed.
Now, over a year after the suicide attempt, Alissa turns to God for strength and says, “God gives me some reason each day that makes my life worth living.” Her advice for anyone who is contemplating suicide is, “It may start out as a good idea, but once you are gone, you leave behind a legacy of pain by giving and cursing somebody else with the same pain you tried to escape.”
Writing this article took me about an hour and 15 minutes. During the time I’ve been trying to get this message out, approximately five people have committed suicide. My message is: Take a little time out of your day to check on someone. Listen to your intuition, and observe the world around you.
Writing this article took me about an hour and 15 minutes. During the time I’ve been trying to get this message out, approximately five people have committed suicide.
Wherever you are in life at this moment, even if you don’t like it, make use of your time, place and purpose to be a real life hero who saves a life. After all, heroes are not just those that we see on TV; they are everyday people like you and me who take the time to respond to the cry for help from others. Be a hero today.
Send our sister some love and light: Natalie DeMola, X-12907, CCWF 512-29-4L, P.O. Box 1508, Chowchilla CA 93610.