How One North Texas Couple Found Purpose After Losing Their Daughter to Suicide

Her room is just as she left it.A pair of scuffed gym shoes in the corner. Bottles of perfume lining a shelf. Some iPhone earbuds, purses, volleyball trophies and a panda pillow. The name ‘HANNA’ stretches in white bubble letters above her bed. A girl with straight brown hair, long eyelashes and a dimple on her right cheek smiles in a photo on almost every wall.Hanna Clark’s room looks the same as it did 3 1/2 years ago, when the 15-year-old Rockwall High School freshman died by suicide.It was a school night, April 25, 2013. Her parents, Tim and Raina Clark, were out shopping for groceries at Wal-Mart. Raina texted Hanna to see if she needed anything from the store. Her daughter responded with a list. About 35 minutes later, the Clarks returned home and unloaded the groceries. Raina walked into their bedroom. What she saw, her daughter’s body, is something she wishes she could erase from her memory.Tim did CPR. Raina called 911.In a moment, Hanna had taken her own life. Her parents now faced the question of how to go on with theirs — without the only child they had together.It’s a problem faced by thousands of family members and friends whose loved ones take their lives each year, including the family of a high-profile Dallas attorney. Last week, Brian Loncar was found dead in his car, eight days after the suicide of his 16-year-old daughter, Grace. The Dallas County medical examiner said it could take up to two months to determine Loncar’s cause of death.The Loncar case has focused attention on the impact of suicides on families, including guilt, depression and suicidal thoughts. Statistics indicate that Hanna and Grace’s suicides are growing more common.A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the suicide rate for young women between the ages of 10 and 24 has risen dramatically. From 1999 to 2014, it increased from 0.5 to 4.6 per 100,000. Each one of those cases represents a tragedy in which those left behind must determine how to move on.Hanna watched Lifetime movies with her mom. She had one of the best volleyball serves on her team. She still believed in Santa Claus. She had funny-face wars with her dad.“The pain will never go away,” Raina said. “But it does get better.”  Continue reading...

Copyright The Dallas Morning News
Contact Us