Candles for Keely

Four years doesn't diminish the pain.

Four years ago today, my cousin Phil lost his 16-year-old daughter. Keely had struggled with bipolar disorder and finally gave up. She took her life one afternoon, just went into the bathroom and hanged herself.

I never knew she had bipolar disorder until she died. Phil and his wife, Binnie, opened our eyes to all who suffer. Every year they ask the family to light a candle for her, and to remember all who struggle. They sent an email this week reminding us that every 16 minutes someone in this country commits suicide. Of those, 90 percent have brain disorders like Keely did, disorders people like Theresa Borchard and the folks at NAMI have dedicated their lives to illuminating.

My yahrzeit candle is burning on the stove, for Keely, and for all who have lost the battle.