Karin Stahl’s first book tackles the issue of a child’s suicide from a very personal angle – her own. In 2002, this communications consultant lost her daughter Kristina to suicide. As she struggled to make sense of the loss, she captured her journey and recently published it as a memoir called The Option: a memoir of suicide, mystery, and finding our way.
The book takes the reader through a journey of change. Stahl describes the tragic beginning this way: “On September 11, 2002, when many were remembering the senseless loss of life one year after 9/11, we were plunged into our own personal tragedy – the suicide of our 25 year old daughter, Kristina. This book is my way to help myself and other parents understand how this happened and continues to happen to our children more and more frequently. My goal in writing the book is to take my readers to the place of healing and triumph that was our journey following our heartbreaking loss. I want my readers to recognize their own grief and losses as they read it and to gain their own understanding of those struggling with anxiety and suicide.”
The book is also Stahl’s attempt to fight the alarming rise of suicide. “There has been an increase in suicide of more than 24 percent since 1999,” she says. “Here in Connecticut, suicide is the second and third leading cause of death among young people ages 15-34. More than three times as many people overall die by suicide in Connecticut than by homicide. We can prevent suicide. It is an option we don’t want any of our children to choose.”
The Option has been described as a “memoir of a parent’s worst nightmare…deeply moving, written with raw honesty and the relentless pursuit of a mother seeking answers. At times heart-wrenching and warm, humorous and reflective, this poignant memoir engages the reader in a mother’s search to find her daughter’s voice, and then her own.”
Kristina Stahl was a teacher and coach at the Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford; she was working toward her Masters at the time of her suicide. “As high achievement and striving for perfection turned into performance anxiety, depression and terror, our daughter chose what she called ‘the option’ of suicide,” recalls Stahl. “No one – not my husband and I, nor her colleagues, or even her closest friends – saw the signs. All of us saw her as perfect. And she was perfect – at masking her anguish.”
The message of The Option is that we all have choices. “We need to create positive options,” says Stahl. “We all need to make the choice to reach out to others to find solutions we haven’t found by ourselves.”
The Option is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle versions. For more information see: facebook.com/KarinStahlAuthor.
About Karin Stahl
Karin Stahl is a communications consultant and a former healthcare account executive, human resources director, and teacher. She is also the editor of a second book, Silent Warrior: Finding Voice After Suicide, a collection of Kristina’s writings published after her death.
Karin Stahl is on the board of the Aurora Women and Girls Foundation, and was active with the Women Executives Committee of the Greater Hartford Chamber of Commerce.
A Connecticut resident, she and her husband William Stahl live in Bloomfield. They have established three funds in Kristina’s memory: The Kristina Stahl Anxiety Lecture Series and research at the Institute of Living; the Kingswood Oxford Teacher Mentoring fund; and the Kristina Stahl Creative Writing Fund at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.