We are Tony and Bernadette Misita and we have been volunteering with Crisis Services for the past 20 years. We lost our son Randy to suicide 29 years ago. He was 21 years old, ready to graduate with an engineering degree at UB, worked in management at UPS, drove a sports car, had a pretty girlfriend, was a treasure to his fraternity, and came from a close family who loved him dearly. Randy really had it all and yet on October 14, 1987, Randy shot himself in a field near our home.
We came to Crisis Services after attending a seminar for survivors of suicide that was sponsored by Crisis Services several years ago. After attending that seminar, we were asked to join a small group of survivors of suicide that created a new volunteer component at Crisis Services. It was called OASIS, which stands for Open Arms Survivors Impacted by Suicide. At that time, we didn’t think we would be able to do this because of the emotional pain that would ensue. But we decided to give it a try. The very first call that we went on with the counselors from Crisis Services convinced us that this was something that could bring meaning to Randy’s death – helping others in their time of need. Nothing in life prepares you for a crisis of this magnitude.
Today, 29 years after Randy’s death by suicide, or as well call it, “death by emotional pain”, we continue to accompany the Crisis Services Trauma Response Program teams when they make trauma calls to families after a suicide. These calls are usually scheduled and, together with the counselors from Crisis Services, we talk to the survivors and offer them something that most of the counselors can’t – the knowledge of having lived through the nightmare of suicide and the support that we can give because of this knowledge. We’ve worked with many counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists on the many different boards and committees that we serve on and they all agree that the best support comes from those that have been through the ordeal.
In the process, we also became involved with Compassionate Friends, a national support group for parents who have lost a child. We founded a local chapter of the national Bereaved Parents of USA, as well as a suicide support group that is affiliated with Life Transitions Center of Hospice. We are now involved with a program called RAP (Resources for Adolescent Problems) in Niagara County schools. We think it’s so important to make kids and teens aware of the signs of suicide and to let them know that there is help for them and that there are people who care what happens to them. We hand out Crisis Services hot line numbers all the time and let students know there is someone always available to listen, support them and help restore a sense of hope during any difficult time. If we can give hope and save one life, then Randy’s life continues to have meaning to others. This is more gratifying than we can ever express!
And we continue to work with the Crisis Services OASIS Program. We seem to be on a mission since Randy’s death, a mission that no one would choose to be on. We don’t believe that Randy was born to die so young in order for us to do this. We do believe that we came to do this because of the energy that he left us after his death. And that energy gets renewed every time we hear a story about how we changed someone’s life by telling our own story. We believe that Randy continues to live through the lives that we change.
Holidays & celebrations will never be the same but with the help of Crisis Services we can call ourselves survivors and enjoy our life again with Randy occupying a very special place in our hearts.
We are asking you to please consider a generous gift to support Crisis Services. Your investment in their numerous services will ensure they are always there every day, at anytime, at any hour to help anyone in their time of crisis They are our community’s crisis first responders and a critical asset to help make a difference in the lives of those impacted by crisis, like the unthinkable crisis that we experienced.
Tony & Bernadette Misita
PS. Thanks to donors like you, Crisis Services is able to offer hope to those experiencing crisis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please send your donation today!