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GUEST COMMENTARY: North Country Out of the Darkness Walk

September 24, 2015
By LINDA?WALLACE , Lake Placid News

Recently I was visiting with Barb (Rand) Ryan, an extremely strong and inspirational woman. Truth be known, I wish I had never met her. Sounds harsh, but the only reason I became acquainted with Barb is due to her husband's death by suicide. Had Dennis not died by suicide, our paths would probably not have crossed. Not to say I didn't hear all about the "lovely Barbara" when I talked with Dennis, but still, if I had my choice, I would rather Dennis still be here with us and Barb someone I only heard about through Dennis.

Life didn't work out that way. Dennis left this earth on May 21, 2012. And over the last few years, I have gotten to know Barb a little better. Besides surviving the unimaginable, Barb is a very talented poet. Since that life-changing day in 2012, Barb has kept a journal and created a book of poems that delve into the deepest and most inner thoughts that she grappled with over the past few years. The poems are not an easy read, but neither is grieving the death of the love of your life, especially when that death is by suicide. Barb graciously shared one of her poems for all of us to contemplate.



I am home,

And so are you.

In different homes,

But both alone.

My home is among the blue mountains.

And green trees.

Which you once knew,

And now can no longer see.

Yours is a place I have not been,

A place where I hope your

Heart and soul will mend

I someday hope to see your home,

But for now,

My love,

I will stay on earth



Please join Barb and many others who are walking in this year's Out of the Darkness Walk on Sunday, Oct. 4 at the Lake Placid Olympic Speedskating Oval. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. with the walk beginning at 1 p.m., starting at the Oval and proceeding around Mirror Lake.

Donations may be made in Dennis' memory by following these steps:

Go to

In the search box in upper right corner, type "Team Dennis Ryan" and enter.

Click on "Donate now" next to Barbara Rand, Team Dennis Ryan, and follow instructions to donate online or offline by mailing a check.

We are proud that the money we raise locally through the annual walk supports the implementation of several programs run by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, including AFSP's evidence-based programs such as the Interactive Screening Program currently used by two colleges within our chapter. This Web-based screening tool allows schools to identify "at risk" students who are struggling with mental illness and who may need help. The money raised also supports youth education programs like AFSP's best-practice film "More than Sad: Teen Depression." This program is brought into schools and teaches youth the signs of depression in themselves and others, and encourages help seeking behavior. Gatekeeper trainings like safeTALK train anyone in the community about the warning signs of suicide and how to connect a person who is struggling to help. For information on bringing any of these programs to your local community, please contact Laura Marx at 518-791-1544 or

Linda Wallace lives in Lake Placid and is Planning Committee with the Out of the Darkness Walk in Lake Placid, scheduled for Oct. 4.



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