by Lisa Hurka Covington
Life is full of twists and turns and taking one step at a time is critical. I am the eldest of six, five sisters and a brother. I lost my father a nationally known civil engineer, at age 57, in 1985 to Parkinson's disease after battling depression many years before. One year before my father's death, my mother who is an incredible artist, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She pulled through surgery, only to be attacked and beaten with a lead pipe and left to die. I thank God she survived.
Six years later, my life changed forever the day my beautiful sister, Laurie, 28 placed a gun to her chest and pulled the trigger. Since the age of 13, Laurie battled depression, bipolar disorder, alcoholism, anorexia and bulimia at a time when little was known about eating disorders. She carried a secret that few knew until she died, she was raped at the age of 12. At 19, she became a single mother raising her only child, a miracle baby weighing only 2 pounds at birth. She held a full-time position and at times wore a mask, she never wanted to bother anyone with her problems. My sister was a warm person who truly cared and loved people, she would help anyone in need. Laurie was an inspiration to me.
Both of my grandmothers and Laurie died within an eight month period which became overwhelming. Laurie's death was the hardest for me to accept. Her suicide letter shall forever be ingrained in my heart. Several of Laurie's last written words to the family, "Thank you for the support you could give. Take care. Dad and I will be with you in spirit. Don't be sad."