UNION CITY, Ind. — There were quite a few families attending the Survivors of Unspeakable Loss (SOUL) Walk on Sunday at Harter Park in Union City, including those of Mike Patterson, who died in 2005 after completing suicide.
Patterson’s parents, Francis and Peggy Patterson; his sisters, Bonnie Amspaugh, Kathy Daniels and Julie Floyd; brother-in-law Doyel Daniels; and their children participated in the event in his memory. A star bearing his name was among those that hung on the main board in the shelter house with many others who have passed.
Each one of the Patterson family members took something home from the walk.
“We think about him all of the time and this walk makes you reflect more,” said Amspaugh.
According to Amspaugh, her brother was living with his parents at the time of his death.
“He was 57 and fought depression for years and he never talked about it,” she said. “Mike left a note which said he couldn’t live like that anymore. He was not real outgoing, but he was friendly and helped everybody. It shocked everybody.”
“This [walk] brings back a lot of memories, good and bad,” said Peggy, the matriarch of the family. “I miss him so much. He was my sidekick. Now, I don’t get any extra help.”
“He was kind of the nucleus of the family. Since he’s been gone, we don’t get together like we did,” remarked Kathy, who added in jest, “And, we don’t get any free woodworking anymore.”
“He loved all of his nieces and nephews and they loved him,” said Kathy’s husband, Doyel. “We reflected on things out on the road during the walk. This walk gave us time to reflect on things that have happened.”
The history of these walks began in 2012, the first year being for survivors of those who completed suicide. In the ensuing three years, it has been for those who are grieving the loss of loved ones who have died of any type of death, including suicide.
Quite a few who were at the first walk returned again this year and their presence brought back memories as to why this SOUL group formed in the first place. Since then, there have been a lot of tears as well as laughter when there is talk of the dearly departed at these events, which are considered by the committee as family gatherings.
Editor’s Note: Another individual will be featured in this series on Thursday.