Posted 3/26/16 | © Photo by The Flash List | Sherri Tilley (center) joins Margie Wright (left) and Yvonne Crum (right) in their mission to raise awareness and funds for the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas.
In a disheartening 1989 telephone conversation about the unraveling of a deeply-troubled relationship, someone very close to me adamantly threatened to commit suicide and then abruptly hung up the phone. Unable to reestablish the connection, a pervasive cloud of shock and dread fogged my mind as I numbly listened to a haunting dial tone on the other end of the line buzzing emptily from 500 miles away.
Feeling distraught and helpless back then as a freshman-level college student desperately trying to cope with the severity of the situation, I raised my hand the next day in psychology class and asked the instructor,
When people think of committing suicide, do they usually talk about it first? I'll never forget the potent look of urgent compassion that appeared on her face as she naturally considered that I might have been referring to myself. She immediately stopped the lecture, walked determinedly over to my desk, bent down, grabbed my hand, looked me square in the eyes, and said,
They talk about it Sherri. They talk about it.
Those encouraging words, delivered as a means of shedding light on one of our society's most taboo subjects, were also discussed as one of three heartfelt sentiments by Terry Bentley Hill, featured speaker at the 2016 Fashion Stars for a Cause Gala benefitting the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas.
My message tonight is 'we've got to talk about it.'
After losing both her husband and youngest daughter to the
disease of depression, Terry is now a devoted advocate for individuals facing the harsh struggles of hopelessness and despair.
Because of the tragedy, she said in her touching remarks to a roomful of ardent supporters,
we have chosen to do something about that suffering ... and that is to speak about it, that is to get up and talk about the issue, that is not to hide in the shadows and in the closets and behind the curtain of shame.
Stop minding your own business.
Additionally reiterating a similar message that she shared two years ago, Terry expounded on the importance of responding to those around us who are emotionally troubled and in need of our assistance.
The person who is suffering has cognitive distortion; they have thinking errors ... stop minding your own business; sometimes we're going to have to step in and help think for people for a while.
God will do for you what you can't do for yourself.
Taking each new day one step at a time, Terry also conveyed her personal story of overcoming a succession of obstacles on her way to eventually becoming a criminal defense attorney. She assured the crowd that openly discussing tough issues can often lead to much-needed inner healing.
When you are grieving, you are constantly full of pain, so it is like balm for someone to mention your loved one. Don't ever be afraid to say, 'Hey Terry, ... tell me about [your daughter].' That is like a blanket of comfort that is wrapped around you.
Terry now serves on the board of directors for the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas where she is joined in her efforts by an extremely dedicated group of men and women including SCC Executive Director Margie Wright and philanthropist Yvonne Crum who have spent the past ten years presenting the annual fashion event which raises necessary funds for the organization and continues to inspire
hope and style for many.
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