Parents carry on after daughter's suicide
Garry Robinson of Galloway said he and his wife Joy never had much knowledge of suicide before it hit close to home.
"Our daughter was as close to perfect as a child could be," he said.
"We were really expecting great things from her."
An honors student at Central Crossing High School, Brittany Robinson was preparing to take college courses her senior year of high school, and she worked at Applebee's on Georgesville Road.
But she was under a lot of stress, her father said, and things didn't help when she and her boyfriend broke up.
"We knew she was upset," Mr. Robinson said. "We didn't know how upset."
On May 21, 2011, Brittany Robinson took her own life. She was 17.
"That was the worst day of our lives," Mr. Robinson said. "A part of us died ... We were in shock for a long time."
Mr. Robinson said his daughter always seemed too sensible, too level-headed, and Mrs. Robinson said Brittany was always helping people, especially other troubled kids at school.
After her death, the Applebee's where she worked raised around $1,000 to help with funeral costs and set up a shadowbox at the restaurant in her memory.
"She wanted to make us proud, and she always did," Mr. Robinson said.
Mrs. Robinson said she remembers her husband wondering what they were going to tell people.
"I told him we are going to tell the truth," she said. "If it could happen to Brittany, it could happen to anyone."
The Robinsons started the West Columbus Survivors of Suicide, a peer support group. The group meets from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays at Columbia Heights Methodist Church.
Mrs. Robinson said she found other support groups in the Columbus area, but they met monthly.
The goal of this group was to meet weekly, she said.
"We want to help people," she said. "The goal is to support other people who have lost loved ones to suicide."
It has been through helping others and her faith that Mrs. Robinson said she has been able to carry on.
"We get together and talk about our feelings," she said. "You have so many whys and ifs, and they never go away."
The goal is also to spread the word about suicide and its stigma.
On Tuesday, Sept. 25, Mrs. Robinson told her story to students in Thornville, and she said they would be active in this year's Columbus Out of the Darkness Community Walk to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third-leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 24, resulting in the deaths of about 4,600 young people annually.
"You can't hide something like this," Mrs. Robinson said.