A Son’s Suicide, a Mother’s Grief


schenkeIn June, Montclair lost a young resident, Eamonn Wholley, when he took his life by stepping in front of a NJ Transit train. Lisa Schenke is all too familiar with such a tragedy. In April 2008, her son Tim, a Manasquan High School senior, committed suicide in the same way. Tim’s death was the first of a rash of suicides that took place in the Jersey Shore area over a four-year period.

Schenke, a graduate of Belleville High School and Montclair State University, has written a book about her son’s life, what led him to end it and how she has attempted to move forward. Without Tim: A Son’s Fall to Suicide, A Mother’s Rise from Grief is a personal and honest account about what Schenke and her family, which includes two other sons, have experienced since Tim’s death.  Billed as a “cautionary tale and a guiding light,” Schenke’s story is a valuable resource for troubled teens and their worried parents.

Tim Schenke’s suicide is one of many that have taken place on New Jersey Transit’s train tracks, including several in the last month alone.

“I believe many individuals, including my son Tim, choose to step in front of trains because the chance of surviving is slim to none,” Lisa Schenke told Baristanet. “As mentioned in my book, Tim had previously considered a different method three and a half months earlier when he did not go through with taking his life. He did later tell only one person, not me, that he had come up with a better method.”

Schenke said she was aware of NJ Transit’s recent efforts to curb suicide by placing suicide prevention posters in every station throughout the state.without tim

“I think it is a good initiative and can possibly help an individual who really does not want to go through with taking his or her life,” she said. “If the decision is made, it’s probably too late. However, if it saves even one life–the person who reads the sign and chooses to at least postpone going through with the suicide–it’s worth it.”

Without Tim, which is being published by Tandem Literary, will be officially released in September for National Suicide Prevention Month. An event to launch the book takes place on September 10 at 7pm at the Samaritan Center in Manasquan, a non-profit family counseling center that opened two years ago in direct response to the epidemic of suicides in the area. All guests are welcome and should RSVP by calling 732-223-4673.

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  1. It is good to make the subject of suicide discussable in our community. There are no boundaries to the blame and shame that come with a suicide; and there is no handbook for making things better. A suicide is never the result of a single failure. The reckoning goes far and wide. Sometimes life is heavier than death; usually for those left behind.

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