The Story behind FISP
In 1986, my 24-year- old son Mitchell Allen Rosen died by suicide. Our whole family was devastated and felt that we would not survive this tragedy. Losing a child is not supposed to happen. The only way we could go on was to reach out other to families who were grieving the loss of a child too. They are supposed to bury us not us bury them. But when you add the stigma and lack of understand by the community about the causes of suicide it becomes even more difficult.
The first support group we attended was for parents who lost children by any means hosted by the worldwide organization called Compassionate Friends. While there we saw a need to start another group in a different location. Running this group helped me feel like life had some meaning again. Soon after the group started we found that five of the families in that group had all lost their twenty- four-year-old children by suicide. We would stand outside in the parking lot after meetings and share that this was a wonderful group but it did not meet the needs of families that had lost a loved one by suicide.
We all got involved in a national organization that did suicide research. This brought us together with the common goal to help local survivors of suicide and develop programs to prevent suicide in our community.
In 1997 the group became a 501 (c) 3 Not-for- profit organization which in 2001 became the Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention, FISP. I have been a Board Member, Assistant Director, and for the last eleven years, the Executive Director of FISP. It is only because of the loss and love of my son Mitchell that I have learned about suicide and worked for the last 29 years with families who have lost a loved one or are afraid that they might loss a loved one by suicide.
Every evening when Mitch was alive, he would come home, rub my shoulders, and ask how my day was. When Mitchell passed, he changed forms, as when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. That is why I wear a butterfly pin on my shoulder. It is a constant reminder of all the lives that we have touched because of my dear Mitchell. Whenever you see a butterfly, say hello to my Mitch and help keep the love alive and growing.
Support FISP by purchasing the book, "The Butterfly on my Shoulder," a story about love, grief, and growing to inspire healing.