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

The charred remains of a Levy County home are all that remain following a fire that killed two people early Wednesday morning, August 20, 2014. (Virginia Hamrick/WUFT News)

Two People Die in Levy County Home Fire

Local law enforcement and the State Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating a mobile home fire that occurred in Levy County early Wednesday morning.  Lt. Scott Tummond of Levy County Sheriff’s Office said the Bronson Fire Department responded to calls at [...]


George Young, former owner of Mom's Kitchen, a local soul-food restaurant and gathering place, talks about the memories of the cultural landmark following its demolition.

Residents Collect Memories of Mom’s Kitchen

  Gainesville is saying goodbye to a neighborhood treasure following the demolition of the historic restaurant that served as a soul food and entertainment center for decades. Mom’s Kitchen, which was owned and operated by George Young and his family [...]


Claudia Aguilar, the mother of slain University of Florida student Christian Aguilar, cries with family in the family's private room at the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center following the guilty verdict of Pedro Bravo Friday, August 15, 2014.  Bravo was found guilty of first degree murder. (Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun/Pool)

Pictures: Pedro Bravo Guilty Verdict


Pedro Bravo stands while the jury exits the courtroom  during a break from closing statements by Assistant State Attorney Bill Ezzell during Bravo's murder trial at the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center Friday, August 15, 2014.  Bravo is accused of killing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar.  (Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun/Pool)

Pedro Bravo Found Guilty On All Seven Charges

After several hours of deliberation following a two-week trial, the jury has found Pedro Bravo guilty in the first-degree murder of his former high school friend and University of Florida student Christian Aguilar. Bravo, 20, was found guilty of first degree murder, [...]


Pedro Bravo is fingerprinted after being sentence to life in prison for the murder of Christian Aguilar in courtroom 1B of the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center Friday, August 15, 2014.   (Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun/Pool)

Pictures: Day Ten Of Pedro Bravo Trial


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