Ottawa Senators assistant coach Luke Richardson is opening up his second home — Scotiabank Place — to the community Wednesday to celebrate his daughter’s life.
On Saturday, 14-year-old Daron Richardson, died in hospital after she hanged herself at the family’s home.
Many are rallying around the family, including the Senators team and former NHLer Kelly Chase who offered his condolences on Battle of the Blades Sunday night on behalf of all NHL players.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with you,” Chase said. “Everyone in the hockey world knows that we stick together. And for the Richardson family, sorry for your loss.”
But the grieving process has only begun for Richardson and his family.
The grief parents face after a child commits suicide is unlike any other pain, says psychologist Lewis Leikin, who has worked with Ottawa youth for the past 24 years.
According to Leikin, the normal five-step grieving process, while very painful, is a sequence of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, then finally, acceptance.
However, when a child takes their own life, the grieving process is more complicated, he said, because there are so many unanswered questions.
“Parents have an additional burden. There’s the unexpected nature of the loss, the doubt, the strain, not understanding why it happened,” said Leikin, who also teaches at the University of Ottawa.
“You have a lot of ‘why’s’ after, but you’re never going to know,” Jennifer Snelgrove told QMI in late October.
The Sarnia social worker has had to cope with losing two sons — 22-year-old son Gavin, who committed suicide, and his older brother B.J., who was murdered.
“The only thing I can say to parents going through this is, you better put your anchor in the ground and hold on tight, because you’re in for one hell of a storm of emotions,” said Snelgrove.
The ceremony to honour Daron will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday. The Richardson family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health Youth Program.