Guest Post by Nathan Wagner: Sibling Suicide

This month’s blog post is done by a guest, a partner in Please Live, and a personal friend of mine. His name is Nathan Wagner, a professional counselor at Cornerstone Counseling in Harrisburg, PA. Twelve years ago – back in the summer of 2002 – Nathan lost his older brother to suicide. He has since shaped his life around the experience, and I am pleased to feature him on the Please Live blog. 

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My name is Nate Wagner and my life path has been dramatically impacted by the suicide of my brother.  I was distant from him which, in a lot of ways, made this experience even more challenging.  He did not even let me into his world to know that things were not going well.

Let me go back about 12 years to the summer of 2002.  I was a summer youth intern at my church and was at youth group when my parents discovered my brother’s suicide.  My mom had support over to the house fairly quickly and when my dad arrived home he made it his single mission to find me.  They did not tell me what was wrong, but that I needed to come home as quickly as possible.  The only thing I remember about this time is driving down 743 toward Hershey and seeing a deer near the road.

Once I arrived home I knew something was dramatically wrong because there were all kinds of people at my house. This is when they told me my brother, my only sibling, was dead.  I’m not sure if they told me that he killed himself at that moment or not.  Obviously all of this is a blur.  What I do remember is complete shock and disbelief.  Sometime after this I was able to get a few close friends to come and support me.

I knew from that day that I would write a book about my experience.  Now fast forward to 2014 and I have started that process.  You can find my raw thoughts and emotions in my blog: http://lessonslearnedwhilerunning.blogspot.com/

Every day (or at least most days) I have a blog post that goes live.  This experience has taught me so much.  A question people ask is “why publish a book now?”  My answer is simply that I am in a place emotionally where I think it will be helpful and that I want to impact at least one person who has gone through something similar.  The cool and amazing thing is that I already have seen this happen.

Another question is, “What are your credentials to write something like this?”  For one it’s my own experience which is sometimes the best teacher.  Also I have gone to school to get my Masters in Arts in Professional Counseling as well as my Pennsylvania License to practice as a professional counselor.  In other words, I have my MA and my LPC.

Currently I am working at Cornerstone Counseling Center in Harrisburg PA.  My contact information is as follows:

Nathan S. Wagner MA LPC
cornerstonecounseling@verizon.net  or natewagner08@gmail.com
Phone number: 717-671-9520 ext 167
6011 Jonestown Road Harrisburg PA 17112

Lastly, I want to make it a point to emphasize something I mentioned above.  I was distant from my brother.  Some may think this would make it easier, but in a lot of ways I think it was harder because I never had a relationship with him.  I wanted one, but he did not know how to have a healthy relationship with me.  Know that each of you matters.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me.  Thank you so much for reading and for your support.  I plan to keep making progress on the book and my ideal situation would be that it would be published in January 2015 at least in an ebook format.

Please go to http://lessonslearnedwhilerunning.blogspot.com/ to keep updated on my progress.