Community remembers loved ones lost to suicide
Jan. 12, 2018 at 10:06 p.m.
Updated Jan. 12, 2018 at 10:14 p.m.
Katelyn Trevino placed a candle on the sidewalk as she remembered the life of her best friend, Isabelle "Bella" Wall, a year after her death.
About 20 candles were placed on the sidewalk - each candle representing someone who lost their life to suicide.
The people who surrounded the candles reflected on the lives of their lost loved ones and shared their experiences with grief.
"Losing Bella helped us realize the importance of surrounding someone we love with love and letting them know there's help out there," the 15-year-old said.
About 75 people attended the Light Up the Sidewalk event hosted by the Bella Awareness Project on Friday at the Rosebud Fountain Bar and Grill. The event occurred on the one-year anniversary of Bella's death.
The Bella Awareness Project is a nonprofit organization that honors the life of Bella, who died by suicide at 14 after struggling with depression and grief.
The organization is devoted to raising awareness about mental illness and suicide in the community while supporting Bella's passion for art.
"She was too special for us to just move on and forget," said Rebecca Sevier, 27, Bella's cousin. "All these children are; all these people are."
The event started with guest speakers including life coach Paul Primm and Shauna Holder, a case manager for Belief Behavioral Health.
Photos of Bella and her artwork were shown in a slideshow on television screens and through projectors inside Rosebud.
Azalea Martinez, 47, attended the event with her daughter, Angelica Martinez, 13.
She was a little scared to come with her daughter because she thought there would be a lot of emotions to deal with, such as grief and heartache.
Although Martinez thought the subject matter was very sensitive, she also thought the event was good because it helps people of all ages know what to say or do in tough situations.
"It helps parents, too," she said. "Not just to know what to do with our own child but someone else's child, too."
After the candles were placed on the sidewalk, attendees prayed and some told stories of loved ones they have lost either months or weeks ago.
Sevier said she wants the community to see how people are affected by suicide, not just those who lost their lives but also the friends and family they leave behind.
She hopes the event will spark more interest for people to raise awareness of suicide.
"Suicide is a tough topic, and nobody wants to talk about it. And, children and people who lost someone don't know about it," Sevier said. "We need people to come together in the community and actually help."