Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Review of "Zachary's Choice: Surviving My Child's Suicide"

Review of Zachary's Choice:  Surviving My Child's Suicide

by Suzy LaBonte

A Christian homeschooling mom of a large family, Suzy LaBonte never imagined one of her children might die by suicide. She received an agonizing blow the day her sixteen-year-old son, Zachary, without threat or forewarning, chose to end his own life. The following months were bleak and sorrowful as Suzy struggled down a confusing path of shock, anger, guilt, and depression. Slowly putting one foot in front of the other, Suzy focused on the unfailing character of God, her husband's faithful partnership, and the hopeful faces of the children before her. Plodding and stumbling toward understanding and healing, Suzy found that God's faithful companionship and the promises of His Word lightened the darkest hours and sustained her life. Healing came slowly and with it, transforming lessons of pain and courage. With a passion to reach out to encourage other suicide survivors, Suzy shares the healing that is found in Christ Jesus."Includes a Survival Guide for those impacted by suicide and suggested resources for further support."

MY REVIEW:  I have not lost a child to death but I have had a family member commit suicide and have had several serious attempts made by loved ones.   Their attempts, thankfully, were unsuccessful and led to hospitalizations which allowed them to receive help and healing.  Suzy LaBonte's son did not receive help and healing as he showed no obvious warning signs to family members or friends.  Suzy experienced great guilt after losing Zachary as she wanted to go back  in time and help him.  
      Suzy dealt honestly and respectfully with her feelings and struggles after losing her son in such a tragic way.   She described her own progression through the five stages of grief:  shock, anger, guilt, depression, and acceptance.  None of the stages were quick and easy. None were without struggle.  They certainly weren't without tears.  Zachary's mother admits she is not a professional counselor but I felt that she spoke clearly and in ordinary language so that anyone could easily understand and apply the script to their own lives.   I have three grown daughters and I found myself grieving with this precious mom over the senseless loss of her beautiful son.   She urges readers to seek professional help if needed and includes many useful tips for those who are experiencing their own grief after a suicide.   
      I rate this book 5 stars and would highly recommend it to readers.
      I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

 About the Author:
Suzy LaBonte

Suzy LaBonte lives with her family in the rural town of Lacey Spring, Virginia which is located in the beautiful farmland of the Shenandoah Valley. For over 26 years, she has been blessed to be the wife of her high school sweetheart, Allen, who manages the engine repair shop for an aviation company at a local airport. 

Suzy has a B.S. in Elementary Education from Cedarville University and is the very proud mother of 10 children between the ages of 3 and 24 (five birth and five adopted from foster care). She is extremely proud of her two sons in the military -- one in the Navy and another in the Marines. Suzy stays busy juggling the weekly homeschool schedules and extra-curricular activities of two busy teenage daughters and five young ones still at home. 

Suzy and Allen have been foster parents is the state of Virginia for over 12 years and have had over thirty children spend time in their home. They are passionate about providing care to abused and neglected children within their community.

After her 16 year old son, Zachary, died of suicide in 2009, Suzy wrote a book about her experience titled Zachary's Choice: Surviving My Child's Suicide. She also created a local monthly support group for survivors of suicide loss called Lanterns of Hope. Meeting with these individuals within her community who are sharing a similar journey has been extremely healing. She also keeps in close contact with others beyond her community who lost a loved one to suicide. These she counts among her dearest friends.

On a personal note, Suzy likes looking for treasures at garage sales and thrift stores, tending to her perennial flower beds, and collecting eggs from her little flock of chickens. In her spare time, besides writing, she enjoys various crafts, vacationing at the beach, and keeping in touch with her friends.

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