WUFT News

Gainesville’s Suicide Memory Garden Dedicated to Survivors

By on November 14th, 2013

A day that was ten years in the making finally became a reality on Thursday morning at Cofrin Nature Park.

The Suicide Memory Garden, located at 4810 NW 8th Ave, was created by The Friends of the Crisis Center, The City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, and the Alachua County Crisis Center. It was dedicated to remember those who have taken their own lives and to the survivors left behind–their family and friends

Judy Broward, the Memory Garden coordinator, is one of those survivors.

Broward said she hopes the garden will show survivors they are not facing their loss alone.

“I lost my son to suicide ten years ago,” she said. “To me the park is a place where we can bring awareness… to survivors to let them know they’re not alone.”

The land at the Cofrin Nature Park was purchased 10 years ago to build this memorial. It took an additional two years and hundreds of volunteers to build the garden.

Pastor Shelly Wilson of the United Church of Gainesville said “it’s a wonderful garden that gives an opportunity to celebrate life and acknowledge the sorrow and tragedy of loss.”

The garden was designed with three symbolic areas including a labyrinth as a place for personal contemplation, a garden trellis to encourage people to connect with others and a area that holds a life-size basalt sculpture.

The sculpture is made up of six pillars that represent the average amount of people affected by a single suicide. An additional, broken pillar is added to symbolize the person that took their life.

Last year 35 people in Alachua County committed suicide, according to the Alachua County Crisis Center. The memory garden will honor those lives lost in the past, and will continue to honor those lose in the present and future.

Randy Wells, a Gainesville city commissioner, spoke at the dedication and said he had personally been affected by suicide.

“The garden represents love over loss and anger, understanding over doubt and confusion,” Wells said.

Broward said the pain from a loved one lost to suicide will always sting, but she hopes the garden can be a place where people can deal with their loss.

“When you have a loss, it never goes away,” she said. “But it gets softer and that’s my hope — that the garden will be a place where people can grieve and the loss will become easier to bare.”


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

BqcMUJ0CcAAuJrS

2 Shot at Apartment Complex, Police Find Suspect Dead

Update 8:30 p.m.: GPD has reported that Gerald Hall has been apprehended. Updates as they are available. Earlier: Update 10 a.m., June 19: GPD is now seeking another suspect in the shooting. Gerald Hall, 43, is wanted for questioning for [...]


For The Women Released After Arrest of CPA, Recovery Just Beginning

A well-known Alachua County accountant has been charged with three counts of human trafficking for keeping women in captivity, offering drugs in exchange for sex and house cleaning.


Group Expanding Investigation into GRU Fee Tax

Seniors vs. Crime is now looking into taxes on gas and water surcharges collected by Gainesville Regional Utilities. The group was previously only investigating a complaint about a tax on electric customer charges collected by GRU.


The fee controversy centers on whether the 10 percent municipality tax should be assessed on the electric customer charge. See the complete GRU bill breakdown.

City Responds to GRU Complaint on Fee Tax

The City Attorney and attorney representing Gainesville Regional Utilities have concluded the tax on the electric customer charge is justified.


The new Fisher House located at 5106 NW 8th Ave, Gainesville, FL 32605. Just across the street from the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center

New Fisher House will Provide Lodging to Veterans’ Families

The new Fisher House in Gainesville will allow families of veterans undergoing treatment at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center a place of comfort during treatment.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments