Hope makes life worth living

Dear Editor:

I am writing this letter with feelings of joy and immense sadness. Sixteen months ago we lost our daughter Courtenay Nicole Cave to suicide.

In the subsequent weeks I was approached by Kris Marsh from the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation (AVMF), asking me to speak at their second crisis symposium “The Divided Self.” I decided to share our family’s personal journey in seeking solutions and solace for help and support.

After my participation, I became actively involved with the foundation’s work on issues that are affecting so many here. Those issues are depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and now alarming rates of suicide in this valley.

The AVMF had commissioned a yearlong study by the University of Colorado Depression Center in 2009. The result of this study and the commitment to move forward has resulted in the opening of the Aspen Hope Center. We opened on June 1, and the calls received in three months have been nothing short of astounding. We now know there was a clear need for people to have a central access point to facilitate the best care for their mental health issues.

I am honored to be chairing our first event at the Wheeler Opera House at 8 p.m. on Saturday. The production “Secrets” is based on secrets collected throughout the valley. These secrets will be showcased in a fun, entertaining, thought-provoking, one-woman show. Ellie Davis is a wonderful performer, and her interpretations of these anonymous secrets are sure to be talked about long after the show is over.

I know the time is now, and I believe we are ready as a community to open our eyes and hearts to support this professional and compassionate center. Their mission is to assist people who have the courage to seek help in areas of mental health.

It has been a very difficult year for our family trying to make sense of a life cut short; of what could have been, and what is now, and what is remaining for others who can be helped with the best guidance through the tough process of recovery.

But there is always Hope, and I know my daughter would be proud of the work that is being done. Please join us Saturday for a wonderful evening of HOPE.

“When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.” – Pauline R. Kiser

Sandy Iglehart